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In a world where food waste is a pressing issue, every action we take to minimize waste counts. Whether it’s a forgotten vegetable left to wilt in the fridge or leftovers that go uneaten, small changes in our daily habits can make a significant impact on reducing food waste and contributing to a more sustainable future.
In this practical guide, we’ll share with you 22 easy food waste hacks that you can start implementing today. These simple yet effective tips will help you make the most of your groceries, reduce waste, and save money—all while embracing a more mindful and sustainable approach to cooking and eating.
Food waste is a HUGE problem in the world today. It’s estimated that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally annually. That is one-third of all the food produced globally for human consumption.
From the resources it takes to produce food (which is a lot) to the harmful gases it produces while in a landfill due to not being able to break down properly, food waste takes a significant toll on the planet.
That’s why doing your best to reduce your food waste is SO important. One of my favorite ways to reduce your food waste, and that I think is so essential, is composting! It helps prevent so much food from going to a landfill and instead gets repurposed so that it can be used on the Earth again and again!
I have a really great post on How to Compost in an Apartment in 6 Different Ways that is really detailed and includes a bunch of statistics about food waste that I recommend you check out! It’s also beneficial for finding different ways to compost, which is the best way to reduce your food waste completely! I didn’t include it in this post to give you more different ideas on reducing food waste, but if you’re interested in composting, check it out!
- 1. Meal Plan
- 2. Get Creative with Leftovers
- 3. Keep Tabs on Your Pantry
- 4. Opt for Imperfect Produce
- 5. Store Veggies Properly
- 6. Don’t Peel Veggies
- 7. Get Creative with Bruised or Overripe Fruit
- 8. Love Your Leftover Veggies
- 9. Keep Bananas Away
- 10. Label Frozen Items
- 11. Perfect Portion Control
- 12. Repurpose Stale Bread
- 13. Freeze Ripe Fruits
- 14. Preserve with Pickling
- 15. Revamp Scraps into Homemade Broth
- 16. Freeze Coconut Milk
- 17. Don’t do BOGO Deals
- 18. Share the Bounty
- 19. Make Jam
- 20. Support Local
- 21. Plant Jammer App
- 22. Food Waste “Journal”
1. Meal Plan
Writing weakly meal plans is a great way to reduce food waste! By planning your meals in advance, you can create a shopping list tailored to your needs, minimizing the chances of buying excess ingredients that may go to waste. It also allows you to repurpose leftovers and incorporate them into future meals.
2. Get Creative with Leftovers
Leftovers are a treasure trove of possibilities. Transform yesterday’s dinner into a new and exciting dish by adding fresh herbs, spices, or other ingredients. Give your creativity free rein, and let your taste buds guide you.
3. Keep Tabs on Your Pantry
Regularly assess the contents of your pantry to avoid buying duplicates or letting items expire. Organize your pantry with clear labels and proper rotation, ensuring that older items are used first.
You should also look at expiration dates when you check these items and put the ones that are about to expire soon in the front so that you see them and know that you gotta use them!
4. Opt for Imperfect Produce
Support initiatives that promote the consumption of imperfect or “ugly” produce. These fruits and vegetables often get overlooked due to their appearance, leading to increased food waste. By choosing them, you help reduce waste and support sustainable farming practices.
5. Store Veggies Properly
Properly storing your veggies is KEY to keeping them fresh and tasting amazing! Since most vegetables go sour pretty quickly, I definitely recommend keeping your veggies where they are happiest.
This youtube video by Sweet Simple Vegan (I love them) shows you exactly how to store your veggies so that they last long enough for you to use them!
I also learned that you can keep herbs fresh by putting them in a glass of water to prolong their life. You could also finely chop them, put them in silicone ice cube trays with olive oil or water, and freeze them!
6. Don’t Peel Veggies
Did you know that you don’t actually need to peel most of your veggies? Not peeling them will save you tons of waste. I know when I used to peel my veggies, that’s probably where I got half of my food waste.
You should also keep them on because most veggies have nutrients stored right under the peel, so it’s healthier too! Just make sure to scrub them well before cooking, and they should be good to eat!
7. Get Creative with Bruised or Overripe Fruit
Bruised or overripe fruit may not look perfect, but they can still be used in delicious ways. Blend them into smoothies, bake them into muffins or bread, or make a fruit compote. Don’t let a little imperfection deter you from enjoying the natural sweetness and flavors.
8. Love Your Leftover Veggies
Vegetable scraps can be used to make flavorful stocks or added to compost for nutrient-rich soil. Don’t toss those carrot peels or onion skins—repurpose them into something delicious and sustainable.
9. Keep Bananas Away
I just learned recently that bananas and apples ripen the fruit and vegetables around them, so if you don’t want your veggies and fruit to ripen, you should keep them away. However, you could also use this as a little hack to ripen them faster if you need to use them soon!
10. Label Frozen Items
Another great tip is to label the items in the freezer so you know what date you put them there and the date that they are fresh. This way, you can track what you have and when you need to use them.
These are the labels that I use. They’re pretty and great for long-term use! You can keep reusing them by erasing what’s written on them and rewrite with chalk. I’ve had mine for about a year and a half, and they still stick and work great!
11. Perfect Portion Control
Many of us tend to cook more than we need. Perfecting portion control can help you avoid leftovers and reduce food waste. Start by consciously measuring ingredients and gradually adjusting your cooking habits to match your needs.
12. Repurpose Stale Bread
Stale bread doesn’t have to go to waste. Turn it into croutons, breadcrumbs, or a savory bread pudding. Get creative in the kitchen and transform that loaf into something delicious and satisfying.
13. Rethink Bulk Buying
While buying in bulk can help save money, it’s essential to consider your actual needs and consumption capacity. Only purchase in larger quantities if you can realistically consume the items before they spoil.
14. Preserve with Pickling
Preserving fruits and vegetables through pickling is a fantastic way to extend their shelf life and add tangy flavors to your meals. Experiment with different pickling recipes and enjoy your homemade preserved goodies.
15. Revamp Scraps into Homemade Broth
Transform vegetable scraps, bones, and leftover herbs into rich, flavorful homemade broth. Not only will you reduce waste, but you’ll also have a versatile ingredient on hand for soups, stews, and sauces.
16. Freeze Coconut Milk
Whenever I open a whole can of coconut milk, I never use the whole thing. It’s a struggle because I don’t want to waste the whole can either. But did you know you can freeze the leftover coconut milk in little ice cube trays and use them in meals, smoothies, etc.? You got a freezer, so use it!
17. Don’t do BOGO Deals
We’ve all been there, tempted by those enticing buy-one-get-one deals at the grocery store. It’s hard to resist the allure of free food, but let’s face it, how often do we really need two of the same item? More often than not, that extra purchase ends up languishing in the pantry, forgotten, and eventually wasted. I’ve witnessed this scenario play out countless times with friends, family, and even myself, thinking I could consume it all before it went bad.
But here’s the truth: Sometimes, we simply don’t need it. So, let’s do ourselves a favor and resist the urge to accumulate more food that will inevitably go to waste. It’s crucial to stick to our shopping lists and only buy what we truly need. By doing so, we not only avoid unnecessary food waste but also save money and contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.
18. Share the Bounty
If you have a surplus of homegrown fruits, vegetables, or herbs, share them with your neighbors, friends, or coworkers. Spread the joy of fresh produce and foster a sense of community while reducing waste.
19. Make Jam
You could also make jam or chutney from the fruit or veggies that are about to go bad! I’m just saying… homemade jam is superior.
20. Support Local
Support your local community gardens and farmers’ markets! A quick Google search will help you find any that are near you.
21. Plant Jammer App
Plant Jammer is an app that gives you recipes with the food items that you already have! It’s automatically vegetarian and allows you to choose allergy info so you can also make it vegan!
22. Food Waste “Journal”
I recently heard the idea of a food waste journal and absolutely love it! Basically, in your notes app on your phone or in a journal you have, reflect on food that you’ve thrown away and why you wasted that food item. This will help you become more aware of your behaviors and the reasons you throw certain things out so that you can avoid them in the future.
Thank You for Reading!
I hope you learned a lot and are ready to reduce food waste! I’m so excited for you and want to hear all about how you are working towards reducing your waste, so leave a comment below and let us know what you’ve done, what’s worked for you, and any tips or tricks you have!