Food waste is a huge problem for many families in America. The American Journal of Agricultural Economics estimates that the average household throws away 32% of the food that it buys.
That’s about $1,500 down the drain each year for families of four, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s not to mention the larger problem that much of that wasted food ends up in landfills and contributes to harmful methane emissions.
You can cut down on your food waste by thinking more carefully about what groceries you will realistically use each week before you buy them.
Another useful strategy is keeping a log of the food thrown in the trash. The idea here is that once you see exactly how much food you waste each week and assign a cost estimate, you might be less likely in the future to waste even more.
Check out this printable food waste log created by the team at Wikibuy. Print out a copy each week and tack it to your refrigerator or the inside of your pantry to keep yourself mindful of your food waste.
Another strategy for reducing food waste is knowing how to store your food to keep it fresh for the maximum amount of time possible. For example, rinsing berries in a dilute vinegar solution before storing them in your refrigerator can go a long way toward extending their shelf life.
Explore helpful tips, like cutting the stems off of pineapples and storing them upside down in your refrigerator or wrapping cheese in parchment paper instead of foil or plastic wrap, with this food saver cheat sheet.
Finally, you should familiarize yourself with the reasoning behind “best if used by,” “sell by,” “freeze by” and similar dates on popular products. With the exception of infant formula, these dates are only guidelines, not federal requirements.
In fact, many products like applesauce, hard cheese and yogurt stay fresh beyond their listed “best by” dates. Pin this guide to your refrigerator or your pantry and give your foods a second date.