While most of the time when we think of reducing waste in our kitchen our minds go to cutting back on plastic and paper waste, a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council suggests that we should also be mindful of how much food we waste.
This alarming report explains that 40 percent of the food purchased in the United States is destined for landfills. Restaurants and grocery stores are big contributors to the problem of wasted food, but with 1 in 6 Americans suffering from hunger, it's unconscionable to not think about how much of the food that we buy ends up spoiling before we can eat it. Cutting back on your household's food waste is also good for the planet. While food waste is biodegradable, it does take up space in already crowded landfills.
Check out the infographic that the Natural Resources Defense Council put together showing Food Consumed versus Food Lost:
Here are some tips that you can use in your paperless kitchen to reduce wasted food in your home.
1. Don't grocery shop hungry. It's funny to think about, but true--when you go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, you often over-buy and end up with things that you simply can't use before they expire.
2. Freeze, freeze, freeze If you end up with extra ingredients when you finish up a recipe, package the rest and put it in the freezer for next time.
3. Check your produce. Make it a goal to check your produce once per day. When your fruits and veggies start to become too soft to eat raw, use them to make sauce, salsa, soup or jelly before it spoils. You can always can or freeze it to use another time.
4. Store your food properly. Keep eggs in their original cartons and store milk inside of your fridge, never on the door, to keep them from spoiling prematurely. Only store your produce in your refrigerator's crisper. Line the bottom of the cripser with a bamboo or soy disposable towel to absorb excess moisture and keep your produce fresher for longer.
5. Keep tabs on your fridge. Make sure your refrigerator is well-organized with plenty of space between foods to allow for proper air circulation. Never block the vents inside of your fridge with food.
Following these easy tips will help you dramatically cut down on wasted food in your home to protect the planet and save you money.