Reducing Food Waste

How much food waste is generated?

  • Food WasteBetween 30 - 40% of ALL edible food is tossed in the U.S.
  • As much as 20 pounds per person per month is wasted.
  • We throw away about 28% of just fruits and vegetables
  • 36 million tons of food is wasted while 49 million people are hungry
  • Americans throw out the equivalent of $165 billion in food each year

How to Cut Food Waste and Maintain Food Safety - Food and Drug Administration

Let's Talk Trash. - USDA ChooseMyPlate

How Can YOU Reduce Food Waste?

Shop Smart: Buy What You Need

  • Keep a running list of meals you enjoy and their ingredients.
  • Inventory your refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards to avoid buying food you already have.
  • Plan your meals before you go shopping and make a list. Buy only the quantities you need.
  • Make your shopping list based on how many meals you'll eat at home.
  • Include quantities needed to avoid overbuying. For example: salad greens - enough for two lunches.
  • Buy in bulk only if you are able to use the food before it spoils.

Store Smart: Cupboard, Refrigerator, Freezer

Store all foods for maximum freshness; they’ll taste better and last longer, helping you to eat more of them. Use these resources to help guide your storage decisions.

Prep Smart: Prep Now, Eat Later

  • Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won't be able to eat in time.
  • Cut time in the kitchen by preparing and freezing meals ahead of time.
  • Prepare and cook perishable items; freeze them for later use. For example, bake and freeze chicken breast; fry and freeze taco meat.

Save Smart: Eat What You Buy

  • Shop your refrigerator first! Cook or eat what you already have.
  • Have produce that's past its prime? Use for cooking. Think soups, casseroles, stir fries, sauces, baked goods, pancakes or smoothies.
  • If safe and healthy, use food you normally do not eat. For example, stale bread can be used to make croutons, beet tops can be sautéed for a delicious side dish, and vegetable scraps can be made into stock.
  • Learn the difference between "sell-by," "use-by," "best-by," and expiration dates.
  • Are you likely to have leftovers? Plan an "eat the leftovers" night each week. Casseroles, stir-fries, frittatas, soups, and smoothies are great ways to use leftovers.
  • At restaurants, order only what you can finish. Take home the leftovers for your next meal.
  • At all-you-can-eat buffets, take only what you can eat.

Source: Reducing Wasted Food at Home

For more resources on reducing food waste, go to the K-State Research and Extension Food Safety website

Compost is Cool!

Composting: Making Black Gold

Kansas Healthy Yards Videos

Food Waste Facts

Food Keeper App

The FoodKeeper helps you understand food and beverages storage. It will help you maximize the freshness and quality of items. It was developed by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute. It is also available for Android and Apple devices.

Food Keeper