We are fast approaching the holiday season. Wonderful food will be shared with family and friends. Unfortunately, far too much of that delicious food will be wasted. The EPA estimates that 22% of waste sent to landfills in the US was food waste in 2015.
The average American wastes 288 lbs of food annually; that is equivalent to 29 turkeys per person.
Wasted food is a real issue with real implications. Water is used to grow food; nearly 25% of clean water is wasted due to wasted food. Fuel is consumed to truck our food; a typical meal travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate.
So, what can be done?
Reducing wasted food is easy, but requires thinking ahead. The first step is to plan ahead. Plan out meals and use a list when grocery shopping. Only buy what you need. A great deal of food is wasted due to over-purchasing only to be tossed later. Buying in bulk reduces packaging but only reduces food waste if you use the product up before it spoils.
How you store food can help reduce waste. Prepare meals ahead of time and freeze; heat them up as you need. Many fruits give off gases as they ripen. This can cause adjacent fruit to spoil as well. Keep fruit and veggies separate when storing.
Other food waste reduction tips include:
- using old bread to make croutons;
- saute beet tops to make a side dish;
- use veggie cut-offs to make a healthy broth for soups.
The last food waste reducing option is composting. Composting can be done at home in a compost bin. Be sure to mix food waste with leaves to make wonderful soil amendment for your garden.
Clean Your Plate
This holiday, plan out meals and only take what you are going to eat. We can all reduce the amount of food being sent to the landfill.
Your mom had some great advice… clean your plate.