Many people believe that when you throw food that is spoiled or scraps from your dinner in the trash, it will just decompose.
No harm, no foul.
But about 94% of the food thrown away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities.
And while it’s true that the food will eventually decompose, the methane gas created by the rotting food is disaster for the environment.
And let’s not forget about the harm the waste at landfills does to our water supply.
What it rains, toxic chemicals from the waste piles make their way into groundwater.
These harmful chemicals can then seep into our drinking water supply.
But that’s not all, as this polluted groundwater travels, it can reach rivers and lakes, killing off essential organisms along the way.
So, what can you do to curb the waste and stop harmful chemicals from destroying the environment?
You can start with shopping more often… and buying less each time.
Buying in bulk is great for toilet paper and tissues, but if you’re not going to eat the 4 pounds of cherries before they go bad, don’t bring them home.
When you go to the store, aim to only buy fresh fruits and vegetables that you can eat within a few days.
Now, this may mean you have to do some planning so you know before you step into the grocery store what you plan to eat for the next few days.
But I’d rather spend 10 minutes every few days planning meals, than further destroy our air and water supply. (And my wallet!)
You also want to make sure you’re storing your fresh foods properly.
Certain foods give off natural gases as they ripen, making other nearby produce spoil faster.
Bananas, apples, and tomatoes are some of the worst offenders, so you want to be sure you store them separately, in their own containers.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to eat some foods before they start to spoil, freeze them.
Bread, meats, and most fruits and vegetables do just fine in the freezer.
You also want to get more familiar with what those dates stamped on the foods actually mean.
A ‘sell by’ date is the date grocery stores need to sell the food by.
It’s NOT when you need to eat it by.
A lot of times food is just fine way after the sell by date.
Eggs can be good for up to a month after the stamped date.
Bread and dairy are usually good for somewhere around 7-10 days.
Meats are tricky. So, I always use my ‘senses’ test if it’s past the sell by date…
If it looks good, smells good, and feels good (not mushy or slimy), then it’s probably OK.
Most people don’t know this trick, so they end up tossing a lot of perfectly good food in the trash.
Since 1974, food waste in the U.S. has increased 50%.
Each year we dispose of more than 37 million tons of food waste in the U.S. alone.
Reducing food waste should be a priority for everyone.
It benefits your wallet, your health, and our environment.
Now, that’s what I call a win-win.