Saturday, April 10, 2010

Reducing Food Waste!

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, an estimated 1,400 calories of food per person is wasted in the US every day. This turns into a pollution issue-- even though it's biodegradable, you've got to find someplace to put all that rotting food.

When your Green Living reps did our trash audit, we found LOTS of food that you threw away!

How can we reduce this amount?

Store your food properly!
Many items will last longer in the refrigerator or freezer.  Close bags and use twist-ties or clips to keep bugs out. 

Perishable items last longer in the freezer.  Most people know you can freeze meat and fish.  But you can also prolong the life of bread, butter, cheese, tomatoes, bananas, and more! Check the full list at

Buy only what you need!
This can be difficult if you're shopping for one.  Stores with bulk sections, like Harvest Co-op in Central Square, allow you to purchase only what you need.  In the produce aisle, look for by-weight instead of large packages-- for example, buy only a few apples instead of the tote bag.

Plan your meals!
This is difficult because it requires some foresight, but it can save you money and time in the end.  There may be several ways you can use one item so you won't get bored but you'll still make it through the entire package. For example, carrots could be carrot sticks, soup ingredients, part of a stir-fry, a salad ingredient, or a side dish.

One of the benefits of living in a dorm is that there are always people around willing to eat extra food.  But this might take a little bit of planning to ensure you share your food BEFORE it gets old.  You could also shop with friends and split groceries, or cook meals together where everyone contributes a few ingredients or a dish. You can also Iron-Chef your leftovers:  or use this site, which helps you find meals using the ingredients you already have:

Barter, trade, optimize social value!
Talk to your neighbors and see if they have any food they can trade-- if you want salad but have lots of greens, for example, you could trade half a lettuce for a cucumber.  Pareto will be happy, and so will you. 

Sometimes, despite your best intentions, you end up with a fuzzy cheese or dead banana.  Rather than throw it away, take it to the Hark dish return and they'll compost it for you.

For more info, check out:

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