20 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste?
We have come a long way in the past decades regarding food waste. But there are still many problems that should be solved. The good news is that you can help solve these problems by simply adjusting your behavior. Here are 20 easy ways that can save you money while also helping reduce environmental waste:
1) Always plan meals before going grocery shopping. Research shows that most Americans wake up each morning with no idea what they’re going to make for dinner that night, let alone for the rest of the week. By planning out your meals ahead of time, you will buy only what you need and therefore avoid throwing away leftovers because they went wrong in your fridge before you had a chance to eat them again.
2) When buying fresh produce, always buy more than you think you’ll need. The rule of thumb is to plan on your fruits and vegetables going bad within 3-4 days before eating them. Suppose that sounds like a lot of waste, then consider buying in bulk, lowering the unit price by 400%. You can then use these items for multiple meals throughout the week.
3) Preserve meats when they go on sale. Meat prices tend to be more stable than other forms of food, but there are times when they get discounted significantly (i.e., Thanksgiving). Buy more than enough for one meal and preserve it so you can enjoy it months down the road. You can do this through smoking, curing, or freezing it – all far cheaper methods than buying the same cuts at total price.
4) Buy discounted meats from local butchers. Another way to save money on meats is visiting local butchers who sell their scraps for cheap. These are often items that have been leftover from traditional cuts or moldy pieces – things supermarkets can’t legally sell anymore. But these are still perfectly good to eat, so why not buy them up before they go wrong? You can use them in soups, stews, and sandwiches, which sounds a lot better than throwing it out anyway.
5) Make your milk & yogurt if you’re vegan/vegetarian. Commercial milk and yogurt producers tend to toss out milk batches that don’t meet their quality standards (eww – mold!?). From a financial standpoint, this is understandable as they have to pay for their expensive machinery and overhead costs after all. But from a consumer perspective, this is just plain wasteful since perfect milk gets thrown out due to arbitrary conditions that it’s produced under. To save money by making your own at home so you know exactly what went into your food and can use every last drop without having waste.
6) Shop on the outside aisles of grocery stores first. Grocery stores strategically place their most profitable items around the perimeter while recognizing their cheaper products in the center aisles (cereals, canned goods, kinds of pasta). By shopping on the outside first, where most fresh fruits and vegetables are, you will buy less junk food and save yourself money in the long run.
7) Don’t impulse shop – list out your weekly meals to make grocery shopping easier. Impulse shopping is one of the primary reasons people throw out so much food because they bought too much yet again. The best way to avoid falling into this trap is by creating a meal plan for each week, forcing you to buy what’s necessary for that week alone. If you have recipes that call for ingredients, you already have, write them down on your list so there are no surprises when it comes time to check out.
8) Keep track of expiration dates & freezer items in a database or notebook. If you’re not sure which things in your fridge are good or not, then keep track of each items’ expiration date and freezer location, so you know exactly what to use first. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to eating something that might make you sick, even if it means having to throw out food just before its due date.
9) Make large batches of soup with leftover vegetables & meat scraps. Soup can be made up of nearly any combination of meat and vegetable stock with various spices mixed in for a taste. If you have any older vegetables or meats leftover from other meals, toss them into a big pot of boiling water along with some salt for flavor (feel free to add noodles as well). This will help ensure nothing goes terrible while giving you an easy dish to eat throughout the week.
10) Make your vegetable broth or stock. You are speaking of making large batches; don’t throw out all of those leftover vegetables that are about to go wrong! Instead, cut them into smaller pieces and boil them in water with some salt until everything is soft enough to crush between two fingers. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth, then let it cool overnight in the refrigerator before freezing it into cubes for later use.
Not only will this keep vegetables fresh for much longer than usual, but it’s also healthier since there’s less sodium compared to boxed broths. And once frozen, the cubes can last just as long as meat products, so they make ideal ingredients for future soups and stews.
11) Get a compost bin if you can afford it. If you’re the type of person who loves gardening, there’s reason to throw out your vegetable scraps just yet! Instead, please drop them off at a local compost collection center so they can be turned into nutrient-rich soil for future plants.
12) Keep an airtight container in your freezer for ice cream & other bulky leftovers. Everyone has that tub of ice cream they forgot about until it was too late, but if you place it inside an airtight container, it will last much longer than average without getting freezer burn or growing any mold on top. This is also helpful for storing other bulky items that will take up lots of space in your freezer.
13) Make a list of all pantry goods & write down the date you opened them. This way, you’ll always know precisely when each product expires so you can be sure to use them before then. It also helps keep track of how long it takes for something to go wrong, which can come in handy when estimating how much food to make during future dinner parties or get-togethers.
14) Keep your liquor cabinet organized with wine racks. Liquor bottles are straightforward to knock over, especially once they get low enough that their weight is no longer evenly distributed. That’s why having your spirits stored upright inside an enclosed cabinet will ensure nothing gets spilled while also making it easier for you to see what you’re looking for.
15) Save your tea & coffee bags after use, then throw them in the freezer. This is a straightforward tip to follow if you brew loose-leaf or bagged teas/coffees that come with their strings for steeping. Just make sure to remove any small staples left behind by generic tea bags before storing anything in the freezer since they can pierce the plastic and cause all of your food to get freezer burn.
16) Buy produce at farmer’s markets when possible. Not only are locally produced fruits & vegetables cheaper than what’s sold at conventional grocers, but they’re also fresher since everything was harvested just days ago instead of several weeks months earlier! Plus, if you live in a colder country region, these sellers will likely have a higher supply of frozen food items you might be looking for during wintertime.
17) Buy new, larger containers for all pantry goods & snacks instead of constantly transferring everything from old ones into new ones. This is especially helpful when dealing with something small like dried pasta since it saves time from having to open and close dozens of tiny baggies or boxes to get enough for one meal.
18) Write down how much water you drink every day, along with what type & brand. There’s nothing worse than accidentally going over your daily quota by hundreds of ounces only to find yourself running back and forth between the bathroom all night! By keeping track of your liquid intake, you’ll be able to avoid making this mistake and also stay well-hydrated throughout the day.
19) buy a reusable ice tray for drinks instead of regular ice cubes. The main reason why? It will allow you to make far less at a time since these trays typically hold a quarter as much compared to regular ice cube trays. Plus, those with larger water bottles tend to have trouble fitting those standard-sized cubes inside them, so they can now have an easier way of cooling their favorite drinks down.
20) Store all leftovers in old plastic milk jugs or juice cartons instead of having to run out & buy extra Tupperware every time you cook something new. Sure, it’s no fun to clean out reusable containers before putting them back in the cupboards, but it’s much better than running to the store just because you don’t have enough space for all that extra food!