Many people know that they should be reducing food waste in their everyday lives. But some people aren’t sure how to go about it or even what it all means. Food waste is a major problem in America and the world overall. It contributes to the growing amount of waste in landfills and resulting methane emissions. It wastes money. And it wastes the energy and resources expelled to produce, transport, and sell or prepare the food.
In a world of abundant tasty recipe ideas (here at LivBar, we love experimenting with new recipes!) and new food products on the market, it can be hard to address this at a personal level. But every small step taken to reduce food waste is a step in the right direction.
Reducing Food Waste
Reducing food waste sounds like a good idea, but can be a challenge to maintain in everyday life. Food service and the restaurant industry are a large contributor to overall food waste in the country. But reducing food waste at home is an easy step individuals can take. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an estimated 30-40% of food produced in the world is wasted.
This might be produce that was thrown away before it made it to the grocery store shelves because of slight imperfections. Or it could be food purchased and prepared that never ended up being enjoyed. Think of the last time you had a meal at a restaurant or took the kitchen trash out: Unfortunately, food waste is just about everywhere we look. But reducing food waste can become a second nature with just a few thoughtful changes.
Sustainable Living At Every Level
Sustainable living is all about limiting the amount of natural resources society uses. The idea of wasting food simply doesn’t line up with this! Start your journey to sustainable living by taking small steps to reduce your food waste.
Consider how you can reduce your food waste at each step of a food product’s journey. For consumers, it all starts at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Try to make a grocery list ahead of time with only the essentials that you know you’ll need for the week. Avoid buying in bulk if it’s just for you. Rather than buying a large amount of food to last, limit your trips to the market to once a week. Then, work with the options you have in your fridge and pantry at home.
It’s common for many people to eat out at restaurants or get takeout regularly. But often large portions mean some may not finish the meal. First, we encourage you to box up the food and take it home! But once you do, try not to forget about it. It’s easy for a takeout container to get lost and forgotten about in the back of the fridge. Or if you lose interest in the dish, make it into something different. There is so much potential in cooking with leftovers that many people fail to take advantage of. Go ahead, make those mashed potatoes into pancakes and toss that steamed broccoli into fried rice. We dare you.
Consider Expiration Dates With a Grain of Salt
Expiration dates are a good anchor to reference, but are often not spot-on predictions. Just because a product says it will be good until July 1 doesn’t mean you definitely have to throw it out on July 2! Smell and taste the food before you make the call to send it to a landfill. Expiration dates for most food are not actually required by law or regulated by any facility: They’re simply a guide in which to go off.
Clean Out That Fridge
A weekly sweep through the fridge is a great tool for sustainable living and reducing food waste. Every Sunday, dig through the fridge and take an inventory. This is a chance to throw things out that you know have gone bad— But it’s also an opportunity to remind yourself about what ingredients you do have. Bring the food that might go bad soon to the front of the refrigerator and make a meal plan to enjoy it before it’s wasted.
Save Your Scraps
Sustainable living makes use of every resource available. That means saving things like vegetable peels, apple cores, and celery leaves rather than tossing them. There are so many ways to make use of your produce scraps! For example, you can save carrot peels, onion stumps, kale ribs, and your other vegetable scraps in the freezer. When you have a solid batch of the scraps saved, make a vegetable broth in a pot of water: This recipe by Little Broken is a good place to start for a homemade vegetable broth. You can also save scraps and use them in smoothies, shred them into salads, and much more.
Composting with LivBar
If all else fails, composting is a great option for disposing of your food waste. All LivBar packaging is compostable! By avoiding the landfill, methane emissions can be reduced. As composting becomes more popular, many counties and cities have adopted a composting program. Check with your local waste management company and try composting if you haven’t yet. If you’re not sure how to compost, that’s okay! It can be hard to get started: Check out our blog all about the basics of composting.