Cutting down on food waste helps the environment in a number of important ways. Most obviously, it saves the resources and energy that go into producing unneeded food at every step of the supply chain, from farming to packaging and shipping. Food that winds up rotting in landfills also produces methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gasses.
Need some tips on how to cut food waste in your kitchen? Here are five clever ones.
Buy only what you need
Think critically about what you buy, avoid buying on impulse, and don’t buy too much fresh food that will go bad before you have time to eat it. If you need to buy in bulk, go for frozen or canned produce, which can be stored much longer and is often just as nutritious as fresh fruits and veggies.
Get your pantry and refrigerator organized
Put the more perishable foods up front, so that you’re reminded of what needs to be eaten first, and don’t forget to store perishable items in a place where they won’t spoil quickly.
Check out these guides to reduce food waste in both your pantry and refrigerator for some extra tips and tricks.
Learn what labels really mean
A study published in 2019 found that the majority of Americans sometimes toss packaged food when it gets close to its “sell by” and “use by” date, even though these labels are not federally regulated. A better strategy, the USDA says, is to look for changes in color, flavor, texture or smell, which may indicate that a food has gone bad.
Consider a meal kit
There is a wide array of meal kits currently on the market which come with pre-portioned ingredients needed to make delicious home-cooked dishes. Although extra packaging is involved with this, it will make sure you don’t waste food.
Keep portions moderate
Overeating is also a form of food waste that we are all guilty of. A study by Frontiers in Nutrition calculated that excess body weight corresponds to 140 billion pounds of food waste globally. Keeping portions moderate also reduces the number of leftovers that get tossed because you’re too full.