AVOID FOOD WASTE - FOOD AND GROCERY BUDGET TIPS
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9.0 AVOID FOOD WASTE - FOOD AND GROCERY BUDGET TIPS
You can save time, money, and about $500 a year while helping the environment. Sounds almost too simple, but it just takes a little planning.
According to the EPA food scraps equal 7.4% or 13.2 million tons of trash in our landfills each year.
The 1995 study by the Economic Research Service found that Americans waste over 25% of the food they buy, which adds up to approximately $1000 per year per household. Some waste is inevitable. Food that is old or questionable should be discarded. So we estimate that each household should be able to cut waste by about half or $500 a year.
Reducing food waste helps the environment because less will be going into landfills and sewage systems. In addition you will save a lot of time because you won't be shopping as much and you'll spend less time in food preparation and clean up. Here are some of our best tips.
== Have a food storage system
Own two or three different sized refrigerator containers for storing leftovers. Buy the same brand for each size so that lids and bottoms are interchangeable since sooner or later you will lose one of these. Don't buy round, bowl shaped or odd sized containers, instead buy square or rectangular ones which use refrigerator space more efficiently. The best containers can be put in the freezer or refrigerator and then microwaved. Attractive ones (such as glass) can even be used as serving dishes which means you'll have fewer dirty dishes.
== Don't let food sit
After a meal store it immediately so it doesn't spoil. Have a method for marking the date on the container. We've found sticking a little duck tape on the lid and writing with an indelible marker works well for both the refrigerator or freezer. The duck tape stays on but can be removed easily. Take the duct tape off before putting the container into a microwave or dish washer.
== Plan meals with leftovers in mind
Many dishes taste better on the second day: stews, soups, even lasagna may be improved on day 2.
== Know how long each food is good for
Look at this detailed list of storage requirements from the Food Marketing Institute for just about all foods:
You will also find many food storage and handling tips.
For a complete list of foods and storage information that you can print out go to:
To read an in-depth article about food waste and the damage to the environment go to: