Did you know? According to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), “the average American throws out about 20 pounds of food each month – that’s almost 250 pounds per year.” That’s about 40% of food in the United States and directly impacts the environment, economy, and society. In this blog post, we will discuss ways that you can reduce kitchen food waste this summer.
The Environmental, Economic, and Societal Impacts of Food Waste
Food waste has a significant environmental impact. The NRDC reports that “if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world – behind China and the United States.” It’s responsible for emitting methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.
In addition to its environmental impacts, wasting food also has economic and societal implications. The NRDC estimates that “the value of wasted food in 2010 was $165 billion – more than the GDP of countries such as Ireland, New Zealand, and Portugal.” When food is wasted, all of the resources that go into producing it are also destroyed. This includes water, land, labor, energy, transportation, packaging…the list goes on.
Food waste is costly, but it also affects approximately one in seven people who are food insecure. When food is wasted, it takes away from the amount of food that could be used to feed those who are hungry.
5 Tips to Reduce Kitchen Food Waste
Meal planning can help you use up all the food you buy and avoid wasting it. When meal planning, include recipes that use similar ingredients so that nothing goes to waste. For example, if you buy a lot of tomatoes for one recipe, try to find another recipe that uses tomatoes so they don’t go bad before you can use them.
Avoid Food Waste by Composting
Composting is a great way to reduce waste in the kitchen because it turns your food scraps into soil packed with nutrients that can be used to grow more food! If you don’t have a backyard, many indoor composting options are available, like worm composting.
Use Ingredients Up
Use your ingredients before they go bad by getting creative in the kitchen. For example, if you have a bunch of ripe bananas, you can make banana bread or smoothies. If you have a lot of vegetables that need to be used up, you could make a soup or stir-fry.
Store Foods Properly
Be sure to store foods properly. This helps foods last longer, so you can use them before they go bad. For example, you can extend the life of your bananas by storing them in the fridge.
Donate your excess food to a local food bank or soup kitchen. Donating your food helps those in need and reduces the amount of food that goes to waste.
The Bottom Line
Summer is the perfect time to reduce your kitchen food waste. By following these tips, you can make a difference in the environment, economy, and society regarding how much food goes to waste each year.