5 WAYS TO COMBAT FOOD WASTE AT HOME The average family wastes about 20 percent of dairy and meat products, nearly 40 percent of grain products and about 50 percent of fruits, vegetables and seafood, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Here’s how to cut back: BE ORGANIZED Practice FIFO (first in, first out). When you bring home groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge, freezer or pantry, so you’re more likely to use them before they go bad. Become a food preservation aficionado by freezing, canning and pickling anything that can’t be used while fresh. Donate extras to local food banks. Research whether a local supermarket or delivery service sells “ugly produce.”
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., meets with Colicchio before presenting the food waste reduction petition to Congress.
GET INVENTIVE WITH LEFTOVERS Stale bread becomes croutons. Miscellaneous vegetable scraps are given new life in a richly flavored soup stock. Slightly sour milk transforms ordinary pancake batter into a chef-worthy brunch item. Overripe avocados, cacao powder and agave nectar make vegan mousse.
LARRY FRENCH/GETTY IMAGES FOR FOOD POLICY ACTION EDUCATION FUND
Waste less. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) , about 40 percent of food in the U.S. is wasted — whether it rots in a farmer’s field, on a supermarket shelf or in your refrigerator. Often, edible produce is discarded simply because it doesn’t meet retailers’ aesthetic criteria, says Cook, who is also the founding chairman of FPA’s board of directors. This is absurd on a purely economic basis: Americans waste the equivalent of $165 billion each year in food, according to the NRDC. It costs another $1.3 billion to dispose of it all, according to a 2008 Environmental Protection Agency study. And American households throw away about $640 each worth of food every year, according to a 2015 survey by the American
FIND A FOOD WASTE APP There are dozens out there. FoodKeeper, put out by the USDA, is one of the easiest to use. Along with waste prevention tips and an encyclopedia of storage timelines for 400-plus foods, FoodKeeper allows
you to note the purchase date of grocery items and sends notifications when they near the end of their freshness window. GEEK OUT ON FOOD WASTE GADGETS From “smart” fridges with Bluetooth-connected cameras that let you check the food at home from your phone while shopping to chip clips that keep your favorite snack fresh, online retailers are now awash in products to help you cut back on food waste. One of the latest is the FOODsniffer ($129, myfoodsniffer.com). Point this keychain-size sensor at questionable meats to see whether they’re still fresh, so you no longer have to rely on dubious “best by” dates or your nose.
COMPOST If all else fails, transform your rotten leftovers into fertilizer. The latest wave of compost bins makes this an odor-free and convenient affair. Bokashi Fermenters (store. bokashicycle.com) use a fermentation-accelerating powder to turn food scraps into a nutrient-rich “tea,” perfect for watering houseplants.
For more on fighting food waste, go to savethefood.com.