20+ Tips to Decrease Food Waste

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

I am so happy you're here! If you are considering implementing some methods to decrease your waste or footprint in any way, I am so proud of you! In my opinion, food waste is something all of us probably experience in our households and it is easy to fall into. You know how it goes... "I'll finish those leftovers tomorrow" or "I need to buy 5 apples for the week, I'll definitely eat one each day to be healthy!" Meanwhile, we forget about those leftovers in the fridge or we want some chocolate instead of an apple one day. It happens! What is important is we be honest with ourselves about what we will realistically finish in a week and not overbuy in the first place. I love grocery shopping and trying new recipes, but I can get sucked into a sale or get carried away with how much produce I purchase. This year I am going to be more conscious of my food waste and try to buy less at the store. I'm guessing most of us have those backup items in our pantry like pasta, grains, and canned goods, so trust me you will never run out of food! Be more mindful with your grocery list and even shop your own pantry. :) Let's hold each other accountable!

If you're looking for more direction on your journey to decrease food waste in your home, check out this long list of tips I came up with as well as some helpful ideas from yourselves!

Marley's Tips to Decrease Food Waste

  1. repurpose used coffee grounds for diy body scrubs

  2. buy the ugly produce - pick the bruised piece of fruit or the curvy sweet potato. shoppers often avoid these and eventually the produce will sit until it spoils and gets thrown away. (giant eagle sells single bananas in a white paper bag for only 99 cents)

  3. look for paper + cardboard - buy eggs in cardboard cartons instead of plastic or styrofoam (cardboard can be composted) same goes for takeout containers!

  4. make things from scratch! i love to make homemade muffins and hummus to avoid buying packed store bought ones

  5. buy one > many - buy your plastic items in a bulk size to avoid using multiple small plastic packages (ex. one large yogurt instead of more small ones)

  6. produce bags are great for fruit and veggies (mesh and cotton ones are easily available)

  7. decrease processed snacks. your body will thank you for this one! put those extra cookies and chips back on the shelf! treat yourself and listen to your body, but try to limit how many processed snacks you’re buying and sub them for a banana or carrot sticks etc. that can be purchased packaged free!

  8. compost food scraps (there's so many ways to compost! my goal is to start composting this year)

  9. make your own plant milk at home (oat milk is simply blended oats, water, and some maple syrup and then strained)

  10. save veggie scraps to make your own vegetable stock for soup (boil scraps from carrots, onion, etc in water and strain)

  11. store + freeze - use mason jars, glass containers, and stasher bags for proper food storage and don’t forget to utilize your freezer to prevent food waste

  12. shop your own pantry first! often we have dry goods and ingredients we can use up already sitting in our pantry closets that we easily forget about

  13. bring glass containers to the deli or meat counter and have them tare your container and place your meat right inside to skip the plastic

  14. choose naked veggies first (instead of buying prepackaged carrots or potatoes, hand select your own)

  15. be more flexible with expiration dates! inspect your item for spoilage if it is the day of or a few days after the suggested date, certain items are still perfectly fine to use up :)

  16. check out the bulk section for things like flour, spices, nuts and seeds, pasta, and more! (i love to get whole rolled oats and pumpkin seeds from the bulk section)

  17. use brown paper bags for raw meat instead of plastic (ex. if you're worried about packaged chicken leaking on other groceries)

  18. glass > plastic - when deciding on a salsa, jelly, peanut butter, coconut oil etc. choose the one packaged in glass over plastic so you can wash and reuse the container in your home

  19. BYOB - your own cloth bags to the grocery store (store these in your trunk so you always have them with you)

  20. start your own garden! even if you don’t have the space or means to grow your own tomatoes and zucchini, try growing herbs on your windowsill to use in recipes. basil is my favorite to add to pizza or pasta.

Some Tips From You Guys:

I asked on Instagram how you guys try to decrease food waste in your homes and here‘s what you said:

  • making a really precise shopping list so i only buy produce that i know i’ll use!

  • eating more than one part of the fruit or veggie: for example the stalk of broccoli is edible and just needs cooked a little longer, but is often overlooked when cooking!

  • freeze fruits and veggies that are limp or overripe to use for smoothies

  • try a plant based diet! wasted meat = thousands of lbs of wasted grain and water

  • soups and stews are great catch all’s for random leftover ingredients

  • eat the skin on fruits and veggies when you can for extra fiber and less waste

Thank you so much for participating! I love starting conversations about being a conscious consumer and getting inspired from you guys and what you suggest :)

Good luck on your eco journeys this year!! Feel free to always reach out to me on Instagram if you have any great tips or discoveries you'd like to share. Here's another blog post on simple plastic swaps!

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