According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), an estimated 30-40% of food in the United States goes to waste. That is more than one-third of our food! Imagine going to the grocery store, and after paying for your items, you simply throw away an entire bag of food instead of placing it in your car. While we may not do this at the grocery store, we are essentially doing this at home when we toss out unwanted and unused food. It is time we take ownership of our wasted food and learn how simple solutions can reduce what ends up in our landfills.
Wasted food that goes to the landfill mixes with inorganic waste and is buried so it does not decompose as well as it otherwise would. This buried waste releases methane gas which is a harmful greenhouse gas (even more so than carbon dioxide). For perspective, methane from food waste in the US food accounts for the same as 37 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions.
Put food waste in its place
The good news is it’s easy to take care of food waste and ensure that this does not happen. Together, we can change how we dispose of food waste and try to be thoughtful with our habits.
- Compost the most
Teabags, spoiled foods, scraps from your takeout meal, fruit and vegetable peels, and more can be composted instead of tossed in the trash. Put your unused food to work by using it to grow new ingredients or mulch for landscape.
- Take inventory before you shop
Before making a list of what you assume you need from the store, take a quick inventory of everything in your fridge and pantry. This can prevent you from double purchasing what may be hiding behind your cupboard, and you can shop for recipes based on what you already have. This could save you money and food waste.
- Store food properly
Did you know that different parts of your fridge hold various temperatures? By knowing the best places to store your food in your fridge, you can prevent mold from overcoming strawberries and keep your veggies from going limp by extending their shelf life in your fridge.
- Get creative with leftovers
Blend overripe bananas into a smoothie or mash them to create delicious banana bread. Use grilled leftovers on a salad the next day or turn them into a sandwich. Save your chicken, beef, or pork bones for boiling into a broth. The possibilities of using leftovers are endless and always ripe for the picking!
- Freeze and date it
If you know you won’t be able to enjoy something you have purchased before it spoils, opt for freezing it. Tack on the date, and you’ll be ready to enjoy recipes in the future and save a trip to the store.
For all the latest tips, tricks and rules on disposing of waste properly in Placer County, follow us on social media and visit www.PlacerRecycles.com.