It takes a lot of water, energy and fuel to get food to our plates, yet we trash
40 percent of the food in the U.S.
Food is the largest part of our trash in Minnesota. In Dakota County, household trash usually ends up in a landfill where the food rots and produces methane, a greenhouse gas more than 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
What you can do
By implementing one, or all, of the tools listed below, you can reduce your food waste, save money and save resources.
Take a deeper look
Start paying attention to the food you toss in the garbage. Use the
Track What You Toss Sheet for a few weeks or a month to understand the foods that don’t get eaten.
Before going shopping, think about how many lunches and dinners you will eat at home for the week.
- Check your fridge and cupboards first and plan meals around what you have already.
- Make a plan for the week, including quantities to avoid over purchasing.
- Buy fruits and vegetables loose and only buy what you need. For example, take four bananas instead of six.
- Avoid the “deals” if they are not on your list. Buying large amount of a product is not a good deal if it ends up in the trash.
- Know the difference between
"sell by" and "use by" dates.
Prep now, cook later
Prepping some or all of your food for the week as soon as you get back from the grocery store will help you later in the week.
- Wash, chop, slice, dry and store produce for the next few days. Freeze extras that you can't use right away.
- Only cook the amount needed for that one meal if the leftovers won't eaten.
- Cook large batches of meat and freeze smaller portions for later.
- Use tools like
Allrecipes to search recipes by ingredient. You can also make easy-to-use shopping lists with Allrecipes.
Know how to store
Store foods in ways that prolong their life.
- Learn the best ways to store produce to extend its shelf life using the
Store It Guide.
- Freeze any foods not eaten right away. Use air-tight containers to lessen the food’s exposure to air and freezer burn. Clearly label and date containers.
- Don’t forget what you have. Use theKitchen Inventory Sheet to remember what’s in your fridge, freezer and pantry.
Eat what you buy
Planning, shopping and prepping is useless if the food doesn’t get eaten. Take note of actions that inspire you and your family to eat what you have.
- Move food that should be eaten soon to a designated area in the fridge, and use those ingredients first.
Print out a “Use It Up” sign to label your new shelf.
BigOven to get creative with leftover ingredients. Soups, smoothies, burritos and potpies are easy and delicious ways to repurpose leftovers.
Ten Tips to Prevent Wasted Food, Eureka Recycling
Video: Why does half of America’s food go to waste, PBS News Hour
Food: Too Good To Waste, West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum
Love Food, Hate Waste
I Value Food, Sustainable America