How to Reduce Food Waste

Photograph by Tala Parker

Photograph by Tala Parker

In today’s society, it’s pretty easy for most people to access food thanks to our globalized economy. However, this means that there is more food waste being produced which is bad because a huge amount of energy goes into producing food and then shipping it around the world. In fact, 31% of food in America is thrown away and of that, two-thirds is kitchen waste. Here are a few tips on reducing your food waste and therefore your environmental impact.

Tip #1: Only buy/accept the food you’re actually going to eat.

This tip seems pretty obvious, but think about how many times you’ve accepted leftovers you know you’re not going to eat or bought something at the grocery store that you hoped you’d like but really didn’t. If you personally end up with something you won’t eat, try to find someone (perhaps a family member or friend) who will like it. Overall, stick to purchasing/accepting food you know you like and will eat within the next few days. Don’t purchase too much food either.

Tip #2: Cook less than you think you’ll want.

Everyone falls into the trap of thinking with their stomach rather than their head. Avoid over cooking by simply cooking less than you think you want. The worst that can happen is that you’re still a bit hungry, in which case you can always have a snack.

Tip #3: Use a smaller bowl/plate.

Similar to tip #2, it’s important not to get/make too much food. By using a smaller plate, we force ourselves to not take too much in the first place because there isn’t enough room for more food.

Tip #4: Eat your leftovers.

Make a plan to actually eat your leftovers within a few days before they go bad. Leave them at the front of the fridge and think about them first when thinking about putting together another meal. Like tip #1, if you know you’re not going to eat them, try to find someone who will.

Tip #5: Create a backyard compost bin.

For the food waste you do create, including cooking scraps, create a backyard compost bin. They’re fairly easy to maintain and will produce really nice soil for your garden.

Tip #6: City compost.

If you live in a location that isn’t suitable for a backyard compost bin or are just too lazy, check if your city offers a compost program. Sometimes even farmers markets will collect compost. Another possibility might be a local garden or student farm.

I hope some of these tips help and that you are inspired to try to reduce your food waste. Good luck!