5 Easy Tips to Reduce Food Waste | Net Impact

5 Easy Tips to Reduce Food Waste

70 billion pounds of food is wasted in America each year
70 billion pounds of food is wasted in America each year

It is estimated that worldwide, one out of every three bites of food produced is never actually consumed (Source: Ensia, Ensia.com). Whether lost through harvesting, transportation, storage, or thrown out after reaching the consumer, that accumulates to a lot of wasted food. 

While no one wants to admit to wasting food, we as consumers do it far too often. In the US, consumers waste more than double the amount of food the retail industry wastes. We know it has negative consequences for our wallet and our planet and we don’t want to do it, so how do we as consumers stop wasting food? Here are some helpful tips:

1. Understand the amount of food you are wasting: 

One way to help see how much food you are wasting is to compost. This allows you to see the food scraps pile up and therefore forces you to see what you are not using. There are also organizations out there to help; Food: Too Good to Waste offers a tool consumers can use to track their food waste on a weekly basis.

2. Change the way you shop for food:

Old habits are hard to break, but many organizations are trying to help consumers change their food routines. Food: Too Good to Waste also provides tools to make it easier to break your shopping tendencies and start new ones, everything from shopping list templates to meal planning apps. It is also suggested to buy less food products in bulk sizes and to only buy what you need.

3. Create meals out of old food:

There are plenty of cook books out there to help you find ways to use up food which may get overlooked (and eventually thrown away). One example is How to Cook From Scraps, but there are thousands out there.  A quick Google or Pinterest search, will help you find recipes where you will waste less food and be more creative with your meals. 

4. Learn how to properly store food:

Often consumer food waste is a result of spoiled food. Understanding the best ways to store food can reduce this. One study in 2014 found that US consumers worrying about food poisoning was one of the top reasons people throw food away (Source: Wasted Food: U.S. Consumers' Reported Awareness, Attitudes, and Behaviors,Plos One.org). For Real Simple's Food Storage Guide, the magazine consulted the USDA, food scientists, food manufacturers and more to ensure consumers safety and food freshness. 

5. When dining out, take what you don’t eat: 

Some countries consider taking leftovers home to be in poor taste, but “doggie bags” are actually a way to reduce food waste. Why throw away what you could eat later? 

Government agencies, environmental organizations, and nonprofits around the world are creating strategies to help us as consumers reduce the amount of food we waste. For our Newman’s Own Foundation Challenge, we have students from across the country, who are also working to educate and redefine our food waste tendencies. Visit Net Impact’s Newman’s Own Foundation page to learn more.