Simple tips and ideas to avoid food waste
02/18/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

Did you know that people who eat healthily are sometimes the biggest producers of food waste? However, with some careful planning and mindfulness, you can reduce food waste to help save the environment.

Early in 2018, a study funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USA) revealed that American consumers waste at least a pound of food per day or 225 to 290 pounds annually. The average U.S. household throws out around 150,000 tons of food daily.

How to reduce, reuse, and recycle

By making some small changes in your daily life, you can make a big impact and help save the environment.

Reducing food waste

Shop smart. Make a list of things you need before you head to the store. Start meal planning and rotate the food in your pantry to avoid spoilage. (Related: Food waste is costing us all: The environmental and financial cost of spoiled food.)

Familiarize yourself with food packaging terms such as "best before," "best by," "expiration date," "sell by," and "use by" so you can maximize the shelf life of the food in your kitchen.

Buy in bulk for items that have a long shelf life. Buying in bulk reduces waste from packaging and saves some money, but only if you purchase items that your family frequently uses.

Reuse leftovers. Freeze them, eat them the following day, or add them to your next meal. When cooking a dish that tastes best on the day it is made, make enough, so you don't have leftovers.

Grow your own food. Plant some herbs in your kitchen and cultivate produce in your backyard. When it's harvest time, pick what you need then learn how to preserve extra produce.


Preserve food to extend their shelf-life. Learn about useful food preservation techniques such as:

  • Canning
  • Dehydrating
  • Fermentation
  • Freezing
  • Pickling
  • Salting
  • Smoking
  • Vacuum sealing

Save vegetable scraps and use them in homemade broths and soup stocks. Clean them properly, then store them in freezer bags until you're ready to use them. Use the rest to make compost for your garden.

Reduce other kinds of kitchen waste

Stop using plastic and get reusable lunch or snack bags and shopping bags instead. Store leftovers in non-toxic reusable containers like food-grade stainless steel containers, glass containers, or Mason jars. Use high-quality insulated mugs, reusable water bottles, and thermoses.

Purchase high-quality kitchenware and appliances. They may be pricey, but these items are worthy investments because you won't have to replace them every year or so.

Repair items instead of discarding them. Use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper products.

Reuse and repurpose

Get rid of unused items at home by donating them to family and friends or local charities. Reduce plastic waste by buying reusable drinking straws for the whole family. Instead of purchasing cleaning towels, cut up old sheets and towels then reuse them for dusting and cleaning.


Live a greener lifestyle by recycling office paper, or switching to a paperless documentation system. You can also recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles.

Contact your local county or municipality to find out which items can be recycled in your area. Most recycling facilities have their lists of acceptable items, but the majority of them don't accept the following items:

  • Aerosol cans that aren’t empty
  • Batteries
  • Bowling balls
  • Broken glass, broken light bulbs, and syringes (Don't throw these in the regular garbage bin. Check with the local waste authority to find out what to do with them.)
  • Food or food-soiled paper
  • Garden hoses
  • Propane tanks or cylinders
  • Sewing needles
  • Styrofoam

Rinse food debris from glass, metal, or plastic materials before recycling. On the other hand, paper materials must be empty, clean, and dry. Wet paper or food-soiled paper products may be compostable, so add them to your compost pile.

Follow these tips to minimize food waste and help make the world a greener place.

To learn more about zero waste living, visit

Sources include:

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