Forty percent of food in the United States ends up wasted and in a landfill. Americans threw away more than 38 million tons of food in 2014 alone, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s nearly 20 times the weight of an average-sized car.
In an effort to curb food waste in this country, Compass Group USA announced a commitment to reduce its food waste by 25 percent by 2020. And on April 27 we celebrated Stop Food Waste Day, a day dedicated to educating people about the food waste epidemic we are currently facing and offering creative solutions.
Small things can make a big difference in reducing the amount of food that makes it to the landfill. Here are 10 quick tips for reducing food waste in your home and workplace.
1. Make a list
A family of four loses $1,500 a year on wasted food. Plan ahead by making a grocery shopping list and only buy what you know you’ll use.
2. Learn the art of freezing
Each of us throws away nearly 300 pounds of food each year. Get in the habit of freezing leftovers, bread, vegetables and fruit instead of tossing them in the garbage.
3. Help save water
Wasting a pound of beef is equivalent to running the shower for 370 minutes. The longer meat is left out at room temperature, the quicker it will spoil. Always shop for meat, poultry and seafood last and go directly home to put it away.
4. Revive your veggies
A quick soak in ice water for 5-10 minutes can revive wilted veggies. Even if they can’t be restored, some veggies you intended to eat raw in your salad can still shine in a cooked dish.
5. Overcooked isn’t over for good
Overcooked vegetables can always be transformed into soups or sauces. Just toss them in the blender with soup stock, milk or cream. Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and potatoes are excellent for this.
6. Less air means less freezer burn
Freezer burn happens when foods oxidize in the freezer. It’s harmless, but it does affect taste. To prevent freezer burn, always squeeze any excess air out of plastic bags and containers.
7. Don’t be bananas
Browning or spotted bananas are perfectly fine to eat. Bruised parts of bananas can be easily cut away or used. Very brown bananas and frozen bananas are great for baking quick breads, muffins or cakes.
8. Waste less with kids
We want our kids to try new foods, but studies show many children have to try a food up to 15 times before accepting it. Start with small portions and minimize untouched food. You can always offer seconds when they’re interested.
9. Use it up
Ninety percent of us throw away food too soon. Utilize recipes during the week that will use up the food that’s about to go bad in your pantry or refrigerator. Just because your lettuce is wilted doesn’t mean it’s time to toss it.
10. Make meal planning simple
Avoid wasting food by seeing what needs to be used up before you go to the grocery store. Think of a meal to make with those items, check your pantry for the rest of the ingredients and add missing pieces to the shopping list.
If you would like more information about our dedication to stop food waste, please contact us here.