Tossing food? Not anymore—here’s how to use it up before you have to throw it out.

Food waste happens at every stop in the supply chain, from the farm to the factory to the food store to your fridge. We each feel the sting of throwing out spoiled foods, but large-scale food waste puts a heavy burden on the environment.
According to a study shared by The Washington Post, the average American wastes roughly one pound of food per day. When you take that and put it in terms of national environmental cost, you get 30 million acres of cropland, 4.2 trillion gallons of water and nearly 2 billion pounds of fertilizer that have been used in vain. If you’re ready to cut food waste out of your day-to-day, here’s how to start.

Master Your Grocery List

Make a list each time you go shopping, and stick to what you really need. Go ahead and stock up on pantry staples, but only buy the perishables—like fruits, veggies, meats and seafood—that’ll you’ll be able to use before they spoil.

Batch, Please

One way to use the food you buy AND cut down on dining out is to cook in batches and portion out your leftovers. You can freeze portions for later and rotate through your recipes so you don’t get burned out by day three of chili leftovers. When you cook smarter, you waste less!

Long Live Herbs!

Fresh herbs make everything taste better, but they spoil so quickly. Here’s how to make them last: Stand your herbs up in a container with a little water in the bottom, then store them in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh for days longer than they would in the crisper.

Pass It Along

When you end up with more food that you can use, turn to Olio. You can upload pictures of what you have to give—all sorts of food and even household goods are fair game—and the app will connect you with neighbors who are interested in taking it off your hands. It’s a feel-good, do-good way of cutting down on waste from your kitchen.

Diamonds In The Rough

Food waste happens at the grocery store at a rate that’s exponentially higher than in your household. One step you can take while you’re shopping is to seek out the ugly stuff. Grab that oddly shaped, perfectly ripe tomato or twisty, tangled bunch of carrots—ugly produce is still delicious, and if everyone passes it up, it’ll spoil.

Come Full Circle

Consider composting, if you haven’t already. You probably have a composting service in your area that’ll do the dirty work for you—services like Compost Now will collect your scraps and do the actual composting, giving you access to quality compost for your garden while keeping your food scraps out of the landfill. The folks at Litterless have put together a list of links to composting services in every state, so take a look and see what’s available in your area.

Once you’ve trimmed your household food waste, you may be ready to make another change to help support nature’s future. We have ideas for that, too! Join the #ChangeForNature movement and help nature thrive.

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Eat More Plants                                                               Conserve Water

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Carry Reusables                                                               Re-Wild Your Life