From farm to fork, Americans waste 40 percent of their food. In addition to the economic and ethical ramifications, our widespread squandering has far-reaching environmental impact. Each person creates at least a half-pound of food waste a day. To reduce it, try these five tips:
Shop smartly. Plan a week’s worth of dinners and make a detailed shopping list to prevent overbuying. Leave a few nights free for leftovers or changing plans. Stick to your list and be honest with yourself—don’t buy produce that often goes unused.
In sight, all right. Keeping food visible works wonders. That means avoiding the cluttered fridge and cabinets where items get pushed to the back. Take a tip from supermarkets: Put the newer groceries behind the older ones.
Avoid portion distortion. Don’t dish out too much. It’s easy to take seconds, but we don’t often save what’s left on the plate. And beware—today’s massive plates make a reasonable amount look tiny.
Love your leftovers. It’s easy to keep the remains of your dinner, but that’s no help if you don’t eat them. They’re ideal lunches, and they’ll save you time and money. If leftovers leave you cold, halve recipes, and order from the appetizer menu at restaurants.
Expiration exasperation. Trust your senses before you rely on the package date. Sell-by dates are aimed at retailers and leave about a week for consumers to enjoy an item at home. And best-by is less stringent than use-by.