Here at Whole Living, we've been paying close attention to the issue of food waste, and we're not alone. Today is America Recycles Day, and this year's theme is "Feed People, Not Landfills," which highlights ways people can reduce the amount of food they waste.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food is the single largest type of waste going into our landfills and incinerators. And when food is disposed of in a landfill, it decomposes and become a significant source of methane, which a potent greenhouse gas.
Try these tips to reduce your food waste:
- Know the expiration dates of the food you have in your kitchen. This will remind you to use up the food item before it expires.
- Properly store leftovers to make them last longer (ex: store your fruits and vegetables separately, they won't ripen as fast; use your own plastic freezer bags instead of the store packaging when you freeze meat, it will last longer and get less freezer burn)
- When you go shopping move older items to the front of the fridge or pantry and use those first.
- Turn leftovers into a completely different meal with the help of sites like lovefoodhatewaste.com, or enter "leftover recipes" on your favorite Internet browser and see all the great ideas that come up for all different kinds of leftover food.
- Find your local food bank and donate excess food to food banks, soup kitchens and shelters.
- Check with your local government solid waste agency for information on local composting resources, and if they don't offer collection for composting, suggest that they start. Or check out findacomposter.com for a composter near you who may be able to take your food scraps and yard wastes. Or learn how to compost.
- During the holidays, have guests make their own plates so they are not over-served.
Check out the EPA's website for more tips.