5 ways to reduce food waste
Wasted food is the second-largest component of municipal solid waste in the U.S. And nearly one-third of the food produced globally is discarded or wasted -- sometimes even for silly things like imperfect shaped vegetables.
The food wasted? It equates to over 1.3 billion tons of food.
While you might not think food waste affects you, think again.
Tossing edible food doesn’t just waste money, it also contributes to the overall global hunger issues and to global climate change. Discarded food sent to landfills, ends up rotting and produces methane gas, which is the second most common greenhouse gas.
To combat the global food waste issues, we've put together a few simple tips that you can do to reduce your overall food waste.
Remember: every little bit helps.
1. Store your food properly.
It all starts with how you're storing your food.
Did you know, certain fruits and vegetables store better in the refrigerator and will last longer than if they're on your counter?
Whole melons like watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew, are best stored on your counter at room temperature until they're cut open. Once they're cut, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator of up to four days.
Potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers and onions should never be refrigerated. Tomatoes in particular can get mealy if they are stored in the refrigerator. If they get too ripe, make a tomato jam or roasted-tomato sauce with them.
And the ever temperamental avocado? If you want to ripen an avocado, do not put it in the fridge. Store unripe avocados in a dry, dark place like a paper bag. And once they're ripe, keep it in the refrigerator to hit a small "pause" button on the ripening process.
2. Create a meal plan.
Whether preparing at home or in a professional kitchen, planning meals ahead helps you be more efficient with the ingredients you have on hand, as well as what you'll need to purchase for the grocery store each week.
An average 15% of food is wasted at home, including items that have their expiration date printed front and center, but have never been opened. Which leads us to our next tip...
3. Stick to the grocery list.
Supermarket specials can be tempting, but using a written out (or typed into your iPhone notes) list will make sure you stick to exactly what you need. By using a grocery list, you'll avoid the temptation of over purchasing foods that you don't actually need at home. A lot of food waste comes down to buying too much food from the get-go.
Stick to your list and be honest with yourself about what you actually need and what you're craving in the moment.
4. Check the refrigerator before you shop.
Before you even head to the grocery store, check the refrigerator and cabinets. What do you have on-hand that you can use in your weekly meals.
Any fruits or vegetables going bad? Use softened fruits and wilted spinach in smoothies and shakes, or leverage slightly older vegetables in stocks or vegetable casseroles.
5. Don't be afraid of the freezer.
The end of summer harvest is upon us, which generally means there's a huge surplus of fresh vegetables that need to be used. If you don't take advantage of our recipes, like this Roasted Garden Vegetable Sauce, take advantage of your freezer!
Chop of your vegetables put them in freezer bags. They're perfect for soup mixes and stir-frys whenever you need them.
Check out this video featuring FLIK Chef’s Bill Chodan, David Joyce and Alfred Depole and Stop Food Waste to learn more about complete uses for vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes and celery, and fresh herbs.
For more information on FLIK Hospitality Group's efforts to reducing food waste, read these other articles:
- 5 Questions with Scott Davis, FLIK Hospitality Group
- The Dirt on Composting
- Farm to Fork School Experience
- Sustainability & FLIK
- Waste Not, Want Not
Questions about FLIK Hospitality & the FLIK Blog? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!