In the United States, the fresh food market reached approximately 75 million metric tons of volume in 2017, and it’s expected to grow another one million tons by the end of 2018. With the amount of food people are buying at the grocery store continues to climb, so too does the amount of edible food being thrown away at some point during the food production and buying process. Here are just a few ways to keep your family’s food waste as minimal as possible to help do your part and help reduce food waste.
- Plan meals before hitting the grocery store: By planning your meals ahead of time, you’ll walk into the grocery store knowing exactly what you need to buy for the week. This means fewer fruits and vegetables going bad on your shelf that will eventually end in a landfill.
- Buy “uglier” food: A large amount of food waste is the result of people being very focused on aesthetics when buying food. An extra bumpy lime or a misshapen apple is still going to taste just as good, and buying unusual-looking foods will keep them out of landfills.
- Check those expiration dates: Despite what many people believe, most expiration dates printed on food packaging really don’t mean much, other than the manufacturer’s best guess at when that food will be the freshest. The FDA doesn’t require expiration dates on most food, so a lot of the food that you might think is “expired” is still perfectly safe to eat.
- Put your scraps to use: If you have a sizable yard, consider adding a compost pile. This ensures your food waste isn’t ending up rotting in a landfill while also giving you the resources for a healthy garden in the future. If you don’t have space for a compost pile of your own, check online to see if there’s a composting program for your city; lots of more populated areas are starting to add compost bins and composting programs for residents.
With 1.3 billion tons of food being wasted annually, reducing our consumption and our waste is more important than ever. Use these tips to help reduce food waste coming from your home.