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Food Waste Prevention

happy zero waste holidays image  - shop smart, compost, love leftovers
The holidays are a time to celebrate, and also a good time to be mindful about preventing food waste.

When we make the most of our food, we ease the pressure on the food supply system, help the environment and save money, too!

Shop smart

Store foods so they last

basil in a jar with waterFridge, pantry or countertop? Where and how you store fresh produce really affects its shelf-life. For example, herbs can be kept fresh in the fridge in a glass of water, like a flower bouquet, and onions are least likely to mold or sprout when placed loose in a cool spot. Foods like nuts and whole grains keep best in the fridge or even freezer.

Organize your fridge

food in containersArranging foods deliberately will prevent spoilage and make it so much easier for you to find things — and know what you already have.  

Find more fridge organizing tips in this article on the SpareFoot Blog.

Organize your dry goods

organized cabinetsSimilar to your fridge, arranging foods in your cabinets will go a long way to help you find things and waste less.

Find more guidance in this article from the New York Times.

Use up what you have

Make the freezer your friend

hamburger frozen in portionsMost of us don’t use our freezer to its full potential. From extending the life of cooked leftovers to freezing vegetables that are in season for later use, the freezer can be a problem solver if used right.

Understand expiration dates

best by date on pastaExcept for baby food, the dates printed on food packaging aren’t regulated and don’t mean that the food goes bad after the date has passed. Instead they are the manufacturer’s best estimate of when the product is at its freshest or “peak quality.”

As this article from Taste of Home details, many foods last a very long time and some even forever, such as sugar, dried beans and corn starch. For the rest, you can largely rely on your own senses: if it’s moldy, smells or looks bad, it’s time to toss. If a food passes the look, smell and taste test, it may not have the same amount of nutrients as it used to (e.g. Vitamin C) but is safe to eat.

Compost scraps, trimmings and peels

hand in compostCheck this page to see if your local community has food scrap collection and what types of food they accept. Composting at home is an option for those without food scrap collection service, or for residents who want to enrich their garden soil with homemade compost.