How To Reduce Food Waste

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With many cities charging garbage pick-up fees, or tallying cost of waste removal by the amount of bags, reducing your waste can be as simple as reducing your food waste.

Check Your Fridge Weekly and Your Freezer, Monthly

A regular peek into your fridge will reveal foods that have been hiding in the back, and un-identifiable goods in unlabelled plastic or glass containers. If you have a city composting program, take advantage of it to get rid of organic matter like foodstuffs. If you have a vermi-composter (worm bin) or a back yard compost heap, add it to your pile.

Don’t Put Small Portions In The Back of The Fridge

For those recipes that call for a half an onion, or for those of us who grated too much cheese and have an awkward amount left over, don’t put them in the back of the fridge. Use clear BPA-free plastic storage containers, or clear glass jars with a tight lid, and don’t forget to label them! If you’re wondering what to do with a portion of meat that is too large for a single serving but too small to use in a recipe, that brings us to our next tip:

How To Use Up Small Leftovers

Omelets are a great way to use up small portions of leftovers, like two slices of cold cuts, a tiny lump of cheese, or some random fresh herbs wilting away in your fridge. Other options for leftovers can be using them as garnish in a salad, or flavoring in a stir fry or soup. Try using up left-overs by tossing them into cooked rice for an impromptu casserole. A great way to hide random bits of food is by making crepes, tacos or burritos and tossing them in with your regular fillings. When in doubt, put it in the freezer for later use.

Label Everything You Put In The Fridge

Sure, you may recognize the leftover rice in a jar for the first three days after putting in the fridge, but a few days more, and it may be unrecognizable (not to mention, inedible.) With frozen food, the recognition factor is further reduced by frost or containers that go slightly opaque when frozen.

Label everything the day you put in the fridge. This will make an easier task of culling the herd of unhealthily past-its-prime foods from your freezer. Simply circle the date it was put in the fridge or freezer, and you’ll have an instant “best before” date on hand. If not, a grease pencil or water-proof marker can give you a good (but permanent) name for your soon-to-be mystery container. Don’t forget to name the dish descriptively (“beef stroganoff” not “meat”) and you’ll have an easier time using up leftovers.

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