Food Waste Facts
Learning to reduce food waste is one of the most important ways to save money on groceries. It’s a great idea for any budget because it accounts for about 25 percent of our household waste. The less food you waste the less you have to buy.
Food waste definition
Food waste or food loss is food that is discarded or lost uneaten. The causes of food waste or loss are numerous, and occur at the stages of production, processing, retailing and consumption.
Not only does food waste include food, but we also waste water and land to grow it, oil to ship it, money to buy it and landfill space to throw it away. If we reduce food waste then we reduce waste in several other areas. Also, food presents special issues in the landfill because when it decomposes without air, it makes methanol, which is a bigger problem than carbon dioxide. Landfills have special setups to keep methanol from building up in the landfill, which might cause an explosion.
Food waste in America
More than 40 percent of the food produced for human consumption in the U.S. will never be eaten. Food waste is still rising, having almost doubled since 1974. We are wasting more than 1,400 calories per person per day. That’s almost enough to feed an entire person!
A European or North American consumer wastes 15 times more food than a typical African consumer.
Food waste solutions to Save Money
There is tons of way to cut down on food waste. These creative solutions help reduce food waste in any household. Be sure to leave a comment or link with your favorite ways to reduce food waste.
Check “Best By” Dates
“Best by” dates aren’t really rules, but merely suggestions. These are voluntary labels. The only items required by federal law to be labeled for expiration are infant formula and some baby foods; some states also mandate pulling dairy from store shelves on the expiration date.
Make sure you’re not going by the “Sell by” date, which is a suggestion for the stores to follow. Food is fine for days to weeks after the “sell by” date. That being said, the “best by” date is an indicator of quality, not safety.
Use your nose, eyes and lastly taste buds to decide if something is safe to eat.
Store Food Properly
Storing food properly is the best way to ensure you get the most out of what you pay for.
Store items such as celery, herbs, lettuce, leeks, broccoli, spring onions (and more) is in a vase or jug of water. You can keep produce fresh for weeks with just a simple water change every few days.
Keeping fruit and veggies in the refrigerator product drawers to keep produce fresh for longer.
Meal Planning to Save Money
Meal planning is a great way to not only save time and money, but to reduce food waste.
Building up a list of staple ingredients and having a well-stocked pantry, will keep you from having to always run to the store when you want to cook something.
Planning out meals is also a great way to find great deals and only buy what you can use.
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Eating leftovers has so many benefits. You save money and time when you don’t have to cook or buy another meal. Empty the fridge once a week or so, eating all the leftovers you have for the week.
Ways to use food scraps
Even if we use all the food from the fridge before the expiration date, we still have food scraps to use.
Make vegetable broth
There’s nothing worse than being sick, wanting soup and discovering you don’t have any stock base for the soup. Keeping vegetable scraps in a bag in a freezer for those times is always a good idea. Then when you need it, just pull out the bag and make vegetable broth. You can also make the stock ahead of time so you can just heat it up when you make soup. Either way you reduce food waste and have an easy homemade alternative for vegetable broth.
Make bone broth
During times like the holidays when you don’t have time to make bone broth or vegetable stock, you can save your food scraps until you can get to it later. Making your own bone broth is one of the money saving tips that is also great for your health. Nothing is better than homemade bone broth!
Grow your own!
Did you know you can grow your own veggies from food scraps?
If you’re like me, living in a small space, you might think it’s impossible to grow your own food. But even growing little herbs or vegetables here and there is a great start. Growing your own food doesn’t take as much space as you’d think. Even a city apartment-dweller can grow their own food. It takes a bit of money up front, but you can reuse plastic containers and grow from food scraps to save money in the short term. You can even grow an avocado!
Compost Food Scraps
Composting is a great solution for food waste because it also helps rebuild the soil. Composting often seems overwhelming but no matter how much space you have, even if you live in an apartment, you can compost.
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Learn how to compost in any space.
You can also get the family involved. Composting is an interesting science experiment lesson to get the whole family involved in.
Find Ways to Reuse Food to Save Money
No one likes to eat the same thing over and over again. Finding ways to reuse those things we can’t live without is a great way to save money and reduce waste. Buying the whole animal or buying staple food items in bulk is a great way to save money.
Finding creative ways to eat staples or bulk foods is a great way to reduce food waste and save money.
Buying a whole chicken instead of chicken breasts is a great way to save money on chicken. You’ll get a wider variety of nutrients and it’ll last longer too.
Check out these three meals to make with a whole chicken.
Pork Roast Recipes
Pork roast is another bulk meat that can be used in many different recipes to save money. Check out these 5 recipes to make with one pork roast.
Reuse Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds work great as fertilizer, pest repellent, adding to compost, tenderizing meat, deodorizing, exfoliating, staining wood or as a natural abrasive. When you reuse items, there’s one less thing you have to buy. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Saving bacon grease
I know this might be offensive to so many groups, but if you’re still in the bacon fan club, this tip is for you. It might seem like a small thing, but every penny counts and there are many benefits for reusing bacon grease. Each time you reuse bacon grease, you’re saving yourself from using other (less yummy) options. It’s a great replacement for butter, coconut oil or other less healthy oils. Just strain it and put it in a jar for later use.
Use all the guts
Yes, I mean ALL the guts. Finding creative ways to use the whole of anything is always a good way to reduce food waste.
I don’t blame you about not wanting to get into this one, I haven’t done it myself. But if you are an omnivore or a carnivore, it’s disrespectful to eat the animal like we do. However, it does have benefits, such as being more economical and having additional nutrients. My job is to share the benefits and let you decide things for yourself. The food industry has gotten pretty creative on finding ways to make us purchase these guts in unidentifiable form. Hotdogs and pet food are some of the major ways. However, there are actually really healthy ways to use the whole animal.
This is an especially helpful post for the Halloween season. Once we decorate or carve pumpkins, we have a lot of pumpkin we need to find something to do with. Check out this post for awesome ways to use pumpkin pulp, seeds and even pumpkin shells.
Zero waste sweet cherry jam
This past fall we a sweet cherry jam and the best part is we didn’t use just the cherries. We found ways to use everything from the pectin packets to the cherry pits. Learn how to make zero waste cherry jam.
Use citrus peels to freshen up the fridge, garbage disposal or to infuse with your homemade cleaning solutions.
Ways to use expired food
If you have non-perishable food that just seems like it’s been in the cabinets a bit too long, sensory bins might be the way to go. Sensory bins are a great way to use non-perishable food like rice, beans, pasta, coffee beans, etc.
The kids get to learn new things, and you get to let go of old food. It’s a win-win.
Apple Cider Vinegar
We’ve joined a local CSA (community supported agriculture program) and sometimes we’ll get a big batch of apples on their way out. We can only eat so many apples in short amount of time. What we can’t salvage for apple pie, we use to make apple cider vinegar.
Stale bread is great for bread crumbs and croutons!
Don’t forget to pin these helpful tips to reduce food waste!