You’ve heard it before: Think globally, act locally. But given the overwhelming issues our planet is facing, it’s hard to know where to even begin taking action. The good news is that food waste is one of the easiest places to make an impact.
By using perfectly good food that would otherwise go to waste, you’re helping divert it from landfills. That’s important because food that decomposes in landfills releases the greenhouse gas methane, which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In honor of Earth Week, we’re sharing simple ways you can help reduce food waste while saving the environment and money.
1. Only buy what you need
Buying in bulk can be a great money-saving option, but often it leads to greater food waste if you don’t pay attention to expiration dates. Sidestep this issue by purchasing smaller quantities of items you may eat less often. Also, always use a grocery list when you shop so you don’t impulse-buy items that will ultimately go uneaten.
2. Use the First In, First Out method
The first in first out method (FIFO) is a food storage method that organizes food by expiration or use-by date. In your fridge, store the oldest food toward the front so it’s top of mind and will be used first, then place the newer items toward the back. Rotate the newer items forward when you use the old, and store the same types of food together so you can easily see how many you have of each kind.
3. Preserve your food
Just because your produce is super-fresh, that doesn’t mean you have to eat it ASAP. There are plenty of preservation methods that allow you to enjoy food later, like canning (with or without pickling), dehydrating, or fermenting food. Perhaps the easiest method, though, is freezing. Cook soups and stews in bulk then pop them in the freezer, or freeze individual portions of fruit for use in smoothies down the road.
4. Use the whole fruit or vegetable
There are endless ways to use an entire fruit or vegetable. Carrots, for example, are easy to eat from root to tip when you employ the peels for veggie stock and the green tops for a pesto. And did you know that you can save the peels of citrus fruits to make a nontoxic all=purpose cleaning solution? Another trick is to save the seeds of squash, wash and dry them, then toss them with a little olive oil and salt and roast for a delicious snack.
5. Pack your own meals
We love a takeout salad as much as the next person, but you could go broke buying one every day! Prepping your lunches ahead of time for the week is the simplest way to use up all the food you have at home—and save up to $1500 annually! Browse Pinterest to plan your recipes for the week, then bring them in an insulated bag with an ice pack so they don’t spoil in transit.
6. Buy misfit produce
Last but not least, one of the simplest ways to reduce food waste is choosing to eat food that otherwise would go to waste. At Misfits, we work directly with growers to rescue the produce that would typically be thrown away due to unconventional size or shape, cosmetic blemishes, or excess inventory. Because we deliver right to your door, it’s easy to save money on organic produce and make an impact in one shot.
On the rare occasion you dohave to shop the grocery store, try to purchase single items that may not look as perfect as the others. The lone banana that’s separated from the bunch and the funky-shaped apple are more likely to get overlooked by shoppers looking for “perfect” items and go to waste.
Got any tips for cooking or consuming food while reducing waste? Share in the comments below and they could be included in future posts on becoming a more conscious consumer!