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34 Ways To Waste Less Food

Every year, Americans throw away $165 billion of food. Happy Earth Day. Let's do better.

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3. Make a grocery list.

Flickr: tzofia

Using a list means you're less likely to make impulse purchases, which means you're less likely to buy food you'll end up throwing away. (For maximum effect, be sure to actually bring your grocery list with you to the store.)

5. Make frozen fruit and vegetables your new best friend.

Flickr: leibolmai

Frozen produce lasts basically forever and is just as nutritious as the fresh versions. Bonus: Freezing means the fruits and veggies don't need other preservatives. (Check ingredients lists and look for the ones with just the fruit or vegetable itself.)


6. Watch out for the Bulk Trap.

Flickr: walmartcorporate / Walmart

Some things (toilet paper, socks, beer) should always be bought in massive quantities when sold at a discount. But when it comes to fresh produce: Beware. Ask yourself, "Will I really eat that entire box of peaches before they go bad?"

7. Skip the Keurig.

Flickr: chunso

Goodness gracious, the wastefulness of these machines cannot be overstated. In addition to all those little pods you're tossing in the trash, you're also throwing away your hard-earned dinero. When bought in Keurig-friendly pods, you can spend more than $50/pound on Folgers coffee. (Already committed? Buy a reusable filter instead of more pods.)

8. Buy organic milk instead of regular: It lasts a whole lot longer.

Flickr: artizone

Not only is organic milk antibiotic- and hormone-free, it's also processed differently to last longer. It might cost more upfront, but you won't end up throwing away half the carton four days after you bought it.


10. Reorganize your fridge on the reg.

An organized fridge is a happy fridge, and maintaining one is a constant battle. Pro-tip: When you unpack your groceries, move older stuff to the front and newer foods to the back so that you finish the old foods before they expire.

12. Remember: One bad apple can ruin the whole bunch.

Flickr: andrewdubock

Apples, berries, potatoes, onions — all of them can be jeopardized by just one rotten spoiler. Check the bag before you put it away.

14. Make your scallions last longer by keeping them in a jar of water in the fridge.

Simply remove the rubber band they came in, add about an inch or two of water to a jar, stand the scallions up in it, cover with a plastic bag and stick it in the fridge. Now they'll stay crisp for a week.


17. Wrap cheese in wax paper or cheese paper.

Flickr: artizone / Artizone

First wrap in wax or cheese paper, then stick in a plastic baggie. Gently place the precious cheese in the warmest part of the fridge (vegetable or cheese drawer).

18. Freeze your fresh herbs in olive oil or butter.

A new use for those ice trays. Rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano will all freeze well. Dill, basil, and mint, however, should only be used fresh.

19. Tupperware: Not just an excuse for parties.

You're more likely to store your food properly if you have the right equipment. Invest in reusable, glass tupperware (stores better than the plastic disposable kind), as well as chip clips, and cookie tins. (Mason jars work too!)


21. Use your kitchen scraps to make homemade vegetable stock.

Instead of tossing the pieces of vegetables you're not using, keep them in a bag in the freezer. When the collection gets big enough, turn it into stock.

24. Save your dried-out mushrooms!

Don't be fooled by their shriveling exterior: Dried-up mushrooms can reconstitute and cook up just fine. (To be clear: Dried up is fine. Slimy is not.)

25. Pickle (or preserve) whatever you've got. / Marisa McClellan

You can pickle pretty much anything, so if you're wondering what to do with all that kohlrabi your CSA keeps giving to you, or even your watermelon rinds, this might just be the answer. (Pro-tip: Save your pickle brine and use it again.)

30. Don't confuse "sell-by," "best-by," or "use-by" with "toss-by."

Not all expiration dates were created equally and very few of them will actually tell you if a food has gone bad. "Sell-by" means it has to be sold, not eaten, by a given date. "Best-by" means it will be at its peak of freshness, not safety, by a certain date. And "Use-By" indicates when the quality will start to go down.


Food scraps are the NUMBER ONE material sent to landfills. There they become greenhouse gases, which as we all know by now, are slowly leading us to mass extinction. So stop making excuses and start composting.


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