Want to save money? Try looking in your refrigerator! According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy every year, which could cost a household as much as $2,275 annually! Wasting food means a waste of energy, water, and money. However, there are many ways that residents, customers, and businesses can help support the USDA and EPA goal to reduce wasted food by 50% by the year 2030:
Make Something New with Leftovers
One way to reduce wasted food is to check your pantry and refrigerator. Are there leftovers that could be repurposed? Check out the Save the Food campaign, which hosts resources to help communities and individuals address the importance of wasted food. For instance, Save the Food advises consumers on meal planning, understanding labels such as ‘best by,’ modifying storage practices, and reviving food. Also, read CET’s blog on best practices for storing and repurposing items past their prime. Reducing food ending up in your trash is a key way to saving money on grocery bills!
Get Involved with Food Rescue
Encourage local businesses to join Food Rescue programs, or volunteer as a food runner! For instance, MEANS database and Food Rescue US offer opportunities for local businesses, volunteers, and community kitchens or food pantries. Food rescue saves food that would have gone to waste, and feeds hungry people. By volunteering as a food runner you can give back to your community, and you can opt to volunteer whenever you are available.
Share Resources with Your Community
Share EPA’s “Food: Too Good to Waste Implementation Guide and Toolkit” with your local community. This toolkit breaks down the social, environmental, and economic impacts of wasting food. It is a guide to designing campaigns that your local communities can support. This toolkit provides tips, strategies, workshop ideas, and examples of other towns and counties.
You can also let your local businesses and institutions know about their opportunities to prevent wasting food! Businesses in Massachusetts can call RecyclingWorks in MA, and businesses across the Northeast can find state-specific resources on CET’s Wasted Food Solutions website. These resources help businesses implement prevention tactics, food donation programs, and send their food for animal feed, composting, or anaerobic digestion. The Wasted Food Solutions Toolbox for some resources that are applicable nationwide!
Compost What You Can’t Use
There will typically be some food waste that cannot be prevented. However, you can start composting! Composting is a great way to reduce trash created in your own home, create a nutritious soil amendment, and reduce your carbon footprint! For more information about composting at home check out CET’s “Composting: The Greenest (and Brownest) Way to Recycle” blog.
CET believes that better managing wasted food is critical in order to address climate change, feed hungry people, and grow our economy. If you are a city, state or federal agency, industry group or foundation, and want to tackle the issue of wasted food, please contact us!