If you're like most modern consumers, you're already aware that everyone should do their part to cut back on waste. For instance, you're probably mindful of best practices concerning recycling and keeping energy consumption levels low, but you might not give much thought to the amount of food that you and your family waste on a regular basis. After all, food is organic material that should break down fairly easily in landfills — right? Well, sort of. Food waste is a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions, so you can seriously reduce your overall carbon footprint by reducing the amount of food that your household wastes. As an added bonus, you'll save money on food costs.
Following are just three of the many ways that you can cut down on food waste in your home.
1. Create a Customized Shopping Strategy
Most people were taught that the most basic way to save at the supermarket checkout counter is to stock up when something goes on sale, and some take that even further by visiting big box stores and buying in bulk. However, even though this practice really can save time and money if you stick with quickly consumed staples such as peanut butter and breakfast cereal, it's not so smart for perishable items unless you've got a huge family or for those non-perishable items you only use on a regular basis.
Although it's definitely smart to have some stored food items on reserve in your pantry and freezer, buying too much of the wrong items often ends in food waste. A better strategy is to write down the meals you plan to serve for a week and structure your shopping around the resulting ingredient list.
2. Create a Food Storage Strategy
Improper storage is another leading cause of food waste. Non-perishable foods that aren't sealed up tightly, for instance, may be ruined by insect and rodent pests, and you'll have to throw them out. Investing in tight canisters helps prevent this from happening. Your pantry should also be kept as clean as possible to prevent attracting household pests in the first place.
3. Create a Composting Strategy
You're bound to have some food waste no matter how careful you are, so why not put it to good use and turn it into compost instead of letting it go to a landfill? Items such as eggshells, vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds are easily composted, and instead of contributed to greenhouse gas production, your food waste will feed your soil and help create healthy plants. You can also purchase ready-made compost if you need more — commercially produced compost is largely composed of food waste as well.