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You might be surprised to learn that in the United States, more than 34 million tons of food go to waste on an annual basis. And that accounts for around 14 percent of the total waste. The vast majority of this garbage goes into landfills where it decomposes and creates greenhouse gases. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that people in the U.S. waste about 27 percent of their food.
So what can you do to reduce your food waste? Keep in mind that by reducing the amount of food you throw away, you’re actually saving money too. The following tips and lifestyle changes will help you make sure very little goes to waste.
Sit down once or twice a week and plan your meals. Plan what you need for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Create a list and then shop from the list. Buy only what you need. When you’re making the list, keep the recipes in front of you so you can make sure you buy the right quantity. For example, if a stir fry recipe calls for 10 ounces of chicken, you can buy only around 10 ounces.
Learn to Love Leftovers
Much of the food that goes to waste in your home is probably due to leftovers. Either change your meal planning so you don’t have leftovers or learn to love them. For example, leftover stir fry may not sound like a typical breakfast, but it can be quite satisfying. Or use them for your packed lunch.
Learn to Preserve
There are many different opportunities to preserve your produce before it goes bad. For example, if you buy an abundance of apples and can’t eat them all before they go bad, you can chop them up and freeze them.
You can place them in a food dehydrator or a low-temperature oven and make dried apple slices. You can also cook them down and toss them in a food processor and make applesauce or apple butter.
Finally, if you just can’t do anything with that food and it’s going to end up in a landfill, consider composting. We’ve discussed it already in this report. Composting turns your food scraps and paper scraps into rich soil that you can use in your garden, landscaping, or even in your indoor plants. It’s a smart way to help keep waste out of landfills and to reduce your food waste.
Next time we’ll talk about conserving energy and reducing your energy bills. It’s a simple and powerful lifestyle change.