The US Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average American household loses about $370 per year as wasted food. While this may not look like much, it is serious money when the national figure is tallied. This happens in the face of the fact that an estimated 800 million people in the world are going hungry. Food wastage takes away much-needed resources in water and energy, not to mention that the money could also be used for other needs. What can you do to reduce food wastage in your home?
Inventory the fridge
Many people will usually make a cursory look at what is in the fridge, then head out to the store. It is important to do an inventory on what is needed. Aim to shop for that week only. This can be done with better organisation of the menu. Shop with your week’s meals in mind. This way, the fridge holds only what is needed. When you bring in new items, place them at the back of the fridge and bring the old stuff to the front for prioritized use.
Avoid buying on impulse
There is a lot of impulse buying in food, more than any other household items. This is because it is easy to pick of that carton of fruits that has 25% off. Deals like these always look inviting regardless of the fact that it is hard to go through these perishables in a week. Don’t buy food items especially vegetables and fruits in bulk just because the price looks good.
It is surprising how much food spoils from poor storage despite all the cooling and preservation technology available. Proper storage is more than just placing items in the fridge. Lumping fruits like bananas and apples together will lead to spoiling as these are fruits that emit gases which affect other foods around them. Washing berries before storing is highly likely to grow mold. Learn proper storage techniques for different food items.
Have menus that build on each other. If, for example, you will be having chicken burgandy on Monday, plan for a menu that can use the leftover chicken the next day. This way you get to eat the leftovers in healthy dishes instead of throwing them away.
Learn to donate
There are many people that need that food you are throwing away. Work with charitable networks which provide free or affordable food to those who need it. A good example is the MEANS database which matches those with excess with those in need.