Food waste is a common problem in American households. The amount of food wasted per person has doubled in the last 40 years, costing us $160 billion across the U.S. every year. While throwing away food is a waste of money for you, it’s also a huge problem for the environment. Food scraps are a large component of landfills. Once food is in a landfill it releases methane, a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming.
Follow these 10 tips to make sure you’re saving money and helping the planet by being responsible when it comes to cooking.
- Make a grocery list before you go to the store. If you make impulsive purchases at the store, you might end up buying too much. When you get home, chances are you won’t be able to eat everything before it goes bad. If you’re planning on going out to eat this week, take that into account and buy less at the store.
- Skip the “buy one, get one free” deals at the grocery store. Many stores will still give you half off for one item so you don’t have to buy both items. Check with the customer service desk at your store so you don’t get roped into buying more than you have to.
- Serve smaller portions. Use smaller plates so you won’t have to throw away unfinished food.
- Have leftovers night. Take one night each week to eat any leftovers in your fridge. You’ll even save time by not having to cook!
- Get creative with old produce. Turn brown bananas into banana bread and bake leftover vegetables into a casserole.
- Freeze bread if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat it before it goes stale. You can also turn day-old bread into garlic bread or French toast.
- Store food properly. Storing food properly will make it last as long as possible. Keep bananas, tomatoes, potatoes and citrus fruits on the counter.
- Compost your food scraps. Instead of throwing away banana peels, egg shells and coffee grounds, you can compost them. It’s easy to start composing at home, and kids will love it.
- Keep your cabinets and refrigerator tidy. If you can’t see all of the food you have, some items may get pushed to the back and be forgotten. Try to use foods in the order you buy them so nothing sits for too long.
- Search for new recipes to cook with the ingredients you have. With websites such as Supercook, you can enter the ingredients you already have and find new recipes to make.