According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends $7,000 on food annually. The Department of Agriculture estimates that at least 25% of this food is wasted, and the learned garbologists at the University of Arizona Garbage Project say it’s closer to 50%.
Let’s use 33%. That means each of our families throws away $2300 annually simply by buying too much food. You can easily cut this in half, saving over $1000 a year. Here, in logical order, are the ULS Top 10 Ways to Reduce Food Waste:
- Look in your cupboards and fridge to see what’s on hand. Start with these ingredients and create a weekly menu.
- When doing your menu planning, stick to what your family will eat. Save the experiments for your “out of home” experiences with family and friends.
- Once your plan is complete, make a shopping list that fills in what you still need in order to serve the meals on the weekly menu.
- Now, head to the store. Shop from the list and stick to it. No impulse buys. No big sales. No sampling and buying two pounds of smoked quail liver paté.
- When you’re shopping in the meat, dairy, produce or bread aisle, check the “last sale dates” on packages. Don’t buy what won’t last at least a week. This is especially important when viewing the “Manager’s Specials” which are invariably within a few days of spoiling. (That’s why they’re special.)
- Ready to cook? Serve smaller portions and let people take seconds if still hungry. Remember, what stays on the plate becomes garbage. What stays on the platter becomes tomorrow’s soup, salad, or sandwich.
- All done eating? Split leftovers into convenient, easy-to-use servings and put in airtight containers.
- Now, when you put the leftovers in the fridge, rotate food so the freshest is in the back. To ensure success, use masking tape and a pencil to label the containers with the contents and the date when first served.
- When going out to eat, try sharing meals. It’s romantic as well as being economically and environmentally friendly.
- And finally, if you’ve got a hankering for fast food, don’t fall for “supersize” meals and deals unless you plan on taking the excess home and promise to eat all of it within 2 days.
That wasn’t too hard, was it? The environment, your wallet, and your waistline will thank you.