Easy ways to help the environment are to compost your food waste and not waste food. On average, Americans waste about 25 percent of all food and drinks we buy. That’s not only wasting food, that’s wasted money – $130 every month. By helping prevent food waste, you are also saving water, energy and fuel that are all used to produce, package, and transport food.
Learn more at Food: Too Good to Waste.
Recently, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) did studies in three cities- Denver, New York and Nashville – to get detailed information on why people waste food and which foods are wasted most often. An important finding is that people feel less guilty about wasting food if they compost it. But while composting is a good solution for food that can’t be eaten, it’s not at the top of the hierarchy of food recovery strategies, the first of which is to reduce food waste. How can you be part of the solution and not part of the problem
Here are some things you can do in your school, household, and workplace:
- Make a shopping list. See what you already have in your fridge and list only what you need. In a hurry? Take a picture of your fridge before leaving for the grocery store so you can see what’s missing.
- When buying food, choose items that freeze well.
- Follow this storing guide to keep produce fresh as long as possible.
An important way to reduce food waste is learning what date labels mean. Twenty percent of food waste has been linked to date labels and misunderstanding about their purpose. Within one exception, date labels, are not food safety.
- Sell-by-date: This is the last date the store can keep the product on the shelf for sale. You can still store these items in your kitchen beyond that date as long as safe storage producers are followed.
- Best-if-used by (or before) date: This date refers to the peak quality date for the product as determined by the manufacturer.
- Closed or coded dates: These are packing numbers used only by the manufacturer.
Help create a more sustainable world by first reducing the amount of food you waste and then composting the food that can’t be eaten. Your class or school can participate in a Green Team project that reduces food waste in the lunchroom. See our Campaigns to Reduce Lunchroom Waste to get started on your own campaign.
Let’s work together to solve this global issue one plate at a time! Do you have any composting tips and tricks? Let us know!