Welcome to Day 6 of my Counting Down to Earth Day 2013 challenge.
Today’s Tip: CUT DOWN ON YOUR FOOD WASTE
In his book American Wasteland, author Jonathan Bloom states that America wastes nearly half of its food. The problem begins in the fields where some crops are left to rot because their appearance does not meet the standards for sale. More food is lost in transport, when it does not sell at the market, or when uneaten food is discarded at a restaurant. Food scraps make up about 19 percent of the waste dumped in landfills, where it ends up rotting and producing methane, a greenhouse gas.
Here is where we come into the picture. Bloom also estimates that Americans waste an astounding 25% of the food they bring home.
What can the consumer do?
Here are some easy steps you can take to help both the planet and your wallet:
- PLAN AHEAD. Love Food, Hate Waste, a British site with the tagline “making the most of the food we buy,” offers: many ideas for reducing food waste, suggested weekly menus, and tools to help you discover recipes you can make from ingredients you have on hand. See a post of mine from last fall for more on this site and mobile app.
- MAKE A GROCERY LIST and try to stick to it. This will work best if you remember my time-tested rule: Never go to the store hungry.
- PUT YOUR FREEZER TO GOOD USE. Yes, I’ve also blogged about this before. Promptly freeze leftovers from your dinner out if you know you won’t get to them in the next day or two. Freeze some of the delicious soup you made over the weekend, or a dozen cookies from that large batch you baked. You don’t need a fancy container; zip-lock freezer bags work well. Just be sure to label the package with the contents and the date before stashing it away. Did you know that you can freeze a partially used carton of milk or juice? Remember that when you are heading out of town.
- KNOW WHAT YOU OWN. Check out the contents of your refrigerator and freezer BEFORE going to the store. You never know what treasures you might find there. Maybe you can take a night off from cooking…
Come back tomorrow for a new tip as we count down to Earth Day on April 22.
Love Your Mother (Earth). Pass it on. Together we can make a difference. Yes, we can!
Have a great week.
I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”