America is huge on throwing away food, in fact, up to 40 percent of our food goes uneaten, mostly ending up in the trash. That’s like putting $165 billion in garbage cans all over the country each year! For our environment that means wasted water and land resources. For our health, that means our food is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions rather than nourishing our bellies. And for our communities, that means millions go hungry.Small changes make big impact. Reduce your food waste. #sustainability Click To Tweet
Small changes make big impacts. Remember that simple things you do each day can add up to make a big difference, especially if we get our friends to do them with us.
Cabot’s six quick tips for reducing food waste will help you save money and the environment; what’s not to like?
1. Take a Trash Test: What are you throwing away? Note what food goes into the trash for 7 days. Once you know, you can start to make changes in eating habits, grocery shopping, etc.
2. Reorganize your Refrigerator: Practice First In, First Out to pull your older products or leftovers to the front of the fridge/freezer/pantry and put new products in the back when unpacking groceries. Doing this will help you beat expiration dates.
3. Freeze Frequently: Always freeze meats that you don’t plan to use within two to three days. Freeze leftover meals, fruits and vegetables too. Check out this guide to freezing foods.
4. Make a Mix-it-up Meal: Choose a night each week where you make a meal from only ingredients that you already have, use leftovers and existing pantry items and get creative with your recipes!
5. Step up your Storage: For all perishables, remember to always use an airtight container.
6. Use it Up: Don’t be afraid to use it all, skins on cucumbers and potatoes, stems plus the florets for sautéed broccoli. Try these Cabot recipes that help you reduce the amount of food waste you produce.
When it comes to “expiration” and “use-by” dates, trust your senses before throwing automatically something away. There is a lot of confusion around sell by dates. These dates tell retailers when they should stop stocking something on the shelf but don’t necessarily mean that the product is bad. More often than not, food is just as good beyond its sell-by date. Cheddar is a perfect example: regulations require a sell-by date, but older cheddar is just a more aged cheddar.
Food that gets tossed in the garbage does a lot more harm than we realize.
We protect our air: People all over the country do good things each day to fight climate change, like carpool and choose hybrid cars to reduce on air pollution. But did you know that it takes the equivalent of 33 million cars’ greenhouse gas emissions to produce all the food that never gets eaten?
We save our water: Communities and companies spend countless hours and money to find new technologies and ways to save water. California has had statewide conservation rules in place for years and Nevada actually put a “cash for grass” rebate program in place to encourage homeowners and businesses to convert lawns into desert landscaping. Taking a shower for more than 5 minutes is seen as irresponsible.
Let’s save our food, too.
3 Ways to Shop Smarter
1. Buy funny-looking produce – they are perfectly edible, just as nutritious and taste delicious – so why put them in the garbage when they could go to the mouths of America’s 17.5 billion who face hunger? We throw away nearly 26% of all produce before it even reaches the grocery store. Billions of pounds of good, healthy produce goes uneaten because it’s not pretty!
2. Don’t shop when you’re hungry – you’ll buy things you don’t need and will end up throwing away.
3. Do your bigger shopping trips for non-perishables but shop frequently for fruits, veggies, meats and dairy.
Other things you can do:
- Share with friends what you’ve learned, spread the word and help fight food waste.
- Find places near you that are working to reduce food loss by using the Food Rescue Locator.
- Compost! Read our Composting Tips and Tricks for 6 easy steps to start composting.
- Walmart and Whole Foods now have programs to sell ugly fruits and veggies. Other food retailers are doing the same, keep an eye out in your local grocery store!
Cabot Creamery Cooperative is the world’s first cheese maker and dairy cooperative to achieve B Corporation Certification, a validation of its attention to environmental and social impacts on stakeholders.
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Ann Hoogenboom is Cabot’s Sustainability Coordinator and gets to share the latest and greatest in sustainability news from our farm families. As a Vermont native and lover of all things green, she’s proud of the socially responsible business role that Cabot plays for our cows, our creamery, our community and our customers.