Want to know how to reduce food waste? Cutting down the amount of food you and your family throw away is an important part of maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. Approximately 40% of the food created, processed and sold in the US is wasted, ending up in landfills where it will release methane—a greenhouse gas 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide—as it decomposes.1 Landfills account for 1/3 of methane emissions in America.2 Not only is this thoughtless kind of waste harmful for the environment, it’s also a waste of money! Every once-edible morsel gone bad is money lost—but there are all kinds of innovative, practical food storage solutions and produce savers to keep your food fresher, longer. Read on to learn about some of our favorites. Shop all food storage and produce savers > When it comes to food storage, there are all kinds of practical, reusable choices that cut out plastic baggies and film, while also keeping food fresher. Plastic cling wrap or film seldom provides an airtight seal, which means that food will go bad quickly. Instead, investing in a functional selection of reusable containers will save you and your family all kinds of leftovers—and a nice bit of cash, too. For food storage containers, we love Progressive International’s Collapsible Food Storage Containers.
Each container in the set of 3 collapses down to 1/3 its full size, which is not only awesome for storage—it also makes these containers easy to take along with you when dining out, which means you can take your doggie bag home without any disposables. That’s cutting down on food AND disposable waste! For leftovers at home, there are so many options to store and save your food without any waste. Make the choice to be better than plastic film and cling wrap, which is not recyclable, harmful to the environment and, really, just plain icky. Take a look at our extensive collection of reusable glass, plastic and stainless steel food storage containers here. To keep produce fresh, it’s important to understand what’s making your greens go all weepy and forcing your fruits and veggies to rot. There is no one-size fits all solution for fresh produce, but, a good general rule of thumb is to keep produce whole, unblemished and unwashed for as long as possible—this will significantly increase its shelf-life (except greens—greens are always thirsty!). As they ripen, certain fruits, veggies and greens release ethylene gas, which acts as a ripening agent and encourages other produce around to ripen more quickly—which leads to rot. Keep these gas-releasing produce items (typically fruits—apples, melon, plums, peaches, kiwi, bananas and tomatoes are particularly gassy) separate from gas-sensitive items (typically lettuce, greens and vegetables— broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, eggplants, peas, peppers, and squash can be ruined quickly by ethylene gas).3
What’s more, produce should not be stored in airtight containers—this creates a tiny vacuum of ethylene gas, speeding up the ripening process. By refrigerating most gas-producing produces in isolated, yet breathable containers, the release of ethylene gas is slowed, and your produce will stay fresher longer. Learn more about where to store different kinds of produce here. Thankfully, there’s a guess-free, hassle-free way to control the amount of ethylene gas in your fridge.
Our very own reuseit Produce Savers contain an FDA-approved combination of minerals that regulate the levels of humidity and ethylene gas, extending the shelf life of your produce by 3-10 times. Outside of the refrigerator, you can keep hardy vegetables around even longer. These innovative Vegetable Keep Sacks from Orka by Mastrad extend the life of onions, shallots, garlic, potatoes—plus, they simplify storing and accessing these vegetables, too. Each sack protects the veggies inside from light, delaying sprouting.
Of course, we all know food waste isn’t restricted just to fresh produce, though. Nobody likes moldy bread or stale croissants—instead, keep your favorite baked goods around for longer with the Best Manufacturers Fresh Reusable Bread Bag. This practical, reusable bread bag features a BPA-free, food-grade liner and a secure hook-and-loop closure so it’s guaranteed to keep bread, bagels, pastries and other baked goods fresh and soft for longer. And don’t forget the vino! When you can’t finish the whole bottle, seal it up tight and protect your wine from turning with the Vacu Vin Wine Saver. Simply pop on the stopper, then pump away to pull out all the extra air in the bottle, keeping the wine inside fresh for up to 10 days. That’s the kind of waste-free living we can raise a glass to. Sometimes, despite all our efforts, food just goes bad.
We know—it happens, and it’s okay. What’s important is what happens next. Don’t banish your food waste to the landfill—instead, COMPOST! Composting is ridiculously easy, and it is so good for the planet. All organic food scraps that do not contain any traces of meat or dairy can be composted, returning all their nutrients and goodness to the earth—while cutting your carbon footprint at the same time, too. You can find all kinds of nifty compost helpers and containers here, and stay tuned to learn more about the amazing, earth-changing benefits of compost. With just a little understanding and forward thinking, you can drastically cut down the amount of food waste you and your family create each and every day.
Find all our favorite waste-reducing solutions for your home here > Sources: 1—http://www.campuskitchens.org/food-waste/?gclid=CjwKEAjwq-OsBRDd95aryprR9wQSJACQnU3GYoRiYRSrtKCBvWwgeEzVKKvoZVqHo4tcAc6AYIMMKRoCE27w_wcB 2—http://www.foodwastealliance.org/services/ 3—http://www.homefoodsafety.org/downloads/produce-infographic