Reducing Food Waste

Up to 40% of the food the United States produces never gets eaten.

Yet 1 in 8 Americans struggle to put food on the table. Improving the way we manage our food through proper planning, storage, cooking, and composting our food scraps will make the highest and best use of our food AND keep food waste out of our landfills that generates powerful methane and contributes to global warming.

The average family of four wastes nearly $1500 a year on food they buy but don’t eat.

strawberries in a dish
Tip: Refrigerators work more efficiently when less full while freezers work more efficiently when full.

Here are some helpful tips to save money and reduce food waste:

Make a shopping list first, utilizing kitchen supplies on hand whenever possible. When shopping, stick to your list and be purposeful about what you put in your shopping cart. Learn how to properly prepare and store perishable food to maximize shelf life. Visit for storage and preparation tips on all types of perishables.

Organize your fridge and pantry (think Marie Kondo!) to know exactly what you have that will make meal planning easier. Set up a system where older leftovers are located in a consistent place in the refrigerator and marked to be eaten first.

Tip: 'Best by,' Sell by,' and 'Use by' dates are just recommendations for freshness and don’t follow any accepted guidelines for shelf life. Use your nose and eyes instead to determine freshness!

Tired of leftovers?

Freeze them and cut up any produce that is getting older but would work well in soups/stews/smoothies. Freeze liquids in containers with some space left at the top for expansion and freeze cut-up produce in resealable bags with as much air removed as possible to prevent freezer burn- and date the containers.

Rather than relying on recipes for meals, and making a separate trip to the store, inspire your creativity by using ingredients on-hand using an “everything but the kitchen sink” method of meal preparation a night or two a week. Consult websites/apps  like and that generate recipes when you input ingredients you have on hand.

Leftover peelings, inedible parts, and spoiled food can be shared with animals, composted at home, or dropped off at a transfer station. Share leftovers from large gatherings with food pantries.