Reducing Food Waste
How much food waste is generated?
- Between 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.
- Safe Food Storage: The Refrigerator and Freezer
- Safe Food Storage: the Cupboard
- Cook to the Right Temperature
- Refrigerate Promptly
- Refrigerator Thermometers: Cold Facts about Food Safety
- Meat Product Labeling and Marketing: What Do All Those Words Really Mean? - Kansas State University
- Food Product Dating: What Do Those Dates Mean?
- Food Product Dating - USDA
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