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Five tips to curb food waste

In most homes, banana peels go into the trash along with unfinished dinner and the veggies that sat in the fridge too long. In the U.S., more than 20 pounds of food per person is wasted each month; 40 percent of all food produced goes uneaten. Organic waste, like those banana peels we toss in the kitchen trash can, are the second largest fillers of U.S. landfills. While we can't take out what we already threw away, every piece of spoiled spinach we keep out of the garbage adds up to make a difference—environmentally and financially.

  1. Look before you toss.
    We typically buy similar items every trip to the grocery store. Begin to take inventory of what you end up throwing away. If you buy a loaf of bread every time you go to the store, but end up tossing it because it goes moldy, then consider freezing half the loaf. Consider splitting a crate of clementines with a friend or neighbor if you begin to notice you are throwing away more than you are eating.
  2. First in, first out.
    When you're unpacking your groceries, put new items in the back and bring older items to the front. Rotating items like this will help ensure you'll finish off the last couple handfuls of salad greens before opening the new container. The same goes for canned goods in your pantry.
  3. Shop your kitchen.
    Knowing what you already have in your refrigerator and cupboards can save you from buying what you don't need. Be a savvy-shopper by taking a kitchen inventory, then creating a list and sticking to it once you're at the market.
  4. Be friends with your freezer.
    If you couldn't pass up a great deal at the grocery store, use your freezer for items like meat, bread, fruit and veggies. Store items like fruits and veggies flat and in a single layer in a freezer bag, so you don't end up with a giant clump.
  5. Love leftovers.
    Some home cooks have perfected the art of cooking for the amount of mouths to feed without any leftovers. For those of us who haven't, don't throw away the extras portions. Add pizazz to a pasta dish by adding milk, eggs and fresh veggies to transform it into a frittata. Leftover chicken or turkey make for great soups or sandwiches.


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