Food waste is a big problem that is costing us a lot of money. Taking a few simple steps can help you reduce your food waste and save a lot of money.
I think we are all guilty of wasting food but I don’t think most of us know just how much we are wasting. It’s a huge problem, especially in the US and it’s wasting all of us a lot of money.
In the US, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted. That’s more than 20 pounds of food per person, per month. It’s a big problem and one we should all work to improve.
Not only is food waste hurting our wallets it’s also hurting the planet. Food waste increases methane at landfills and increases food needs meaning resources are being wasted.
I know for me I also feel guilty knowing how many people are going hungry in the US. Think of what 30-40% of the US food supply could do if it was going to hungry people instead of the landfill.
Tips for Reducing Food Waste
- Label your food. I’m very guilty of putting leftovers in the fridge or opening a package but forgetting when I put it in there. I really don’t want food poisoning so when in doubt I throw food out but simply dating and labeling the food helps stop the doubt.
- Stock food smartly. When stocking your pantry or fridge, put the things that will go bad first in the front. We tend to use the things that are the easiest to reach first so this helps us to make sure things get used up.
- Freeze your food. A lot of things can be frozen to help them last longer. This is a topic I will be talking about more very soon but for now, you can always Google to find out if something can be frozen.
- Get creative. If something is about to go bad see if you can find a creative way to use it. It can be fun to try and come up with meals with random ingredients.
- Make smoothies. If you have produce that is maybe a bit past its prime but is still safe to eat, stick it in a smoothie. You can also freeze most produce to save for smoothies at a later time. Even greens and many veggies can go in smoothies, just follow the 60/40 rule, 60% fruit, 40% veggies (less if it has a strong flavor).
- Meal plan. Meal planning can help you shop smarter and use up ingredients before they go bad. Click here for more meal planning tips.
- Check your food before shopping. Try to make as many meals as you can with what you already have on hand before getting more food. And make sure you aren’t overbuying ingredients because you forgot what you already had.
- Share with friends and family. Did you make too much of something? Or got a good deal but can’t use all of it before it goes bad? See if some friends or family would like to share.
- Donate extra food to a food bank. If you bought too much of something or know you won’t use something before it goes bad, find a food bank that can use it.
- Save your citrus peels. Citrus peels are very useful. You can make candied citrus peels (you can even make candied citrus peels in the Instant Pot) or even use them to clean your garbage disposal. You can even make an all-purpose cleaner with your citrus peels.
- When all else fails, compost. When you do have something that goes bad or scraps you can’t use up, compost it (assuming it’s compostable). The rich soil can help you grow your own food later or even if you don’t have a food garden it can be used in flower beds or shared with friends. I keep a nice looking stainless steel compost bin with a carbon filter under my sink making it very easy to compost. I just take it out weekly to my compost bin outside.
I challenge you to pay attention to how much food you are wasting. I bet you will be surprised. The good news is if you have a lot of food waste you have a lot of room for improvement which means you can save more money.
If you are interested in even more frugal green living tips? Check out 30 Frugal Green Living Tips.