|They had the right idea. What makes us think that we can be so wasteful? (Image from GOOD)|
Click here to read the article from my new favorite publication, GOOD. From the article, with my emphasis added:
But, as [Jonathan] Bloom [the man behind Wasted Food] points out, there are incredibly simple things we all can do to break the cycle of throwing out an average of 15 to 25 percent of our food annually per household (and the $1300 to $2200 we spend on it).
1. Shop smarter. Make a list to reduce your purchase of unnecessary items, plan meals, bring less food into your house. Since 25 percent is wasted, commit to buying 25 percent less food.
2. Focus on sensible portions. Portion sizes have increased as have the diameter of dinner plates. Pay attention to what's on your plate and think about equating value less with quantity than quality.
3. Ignore expiration dates. OK, so don't ignore them but approach with a fair amount of skepticism. If something is spoiled, you'll know it by the way it looks or smells not by the date on its packaging.
4. Love your leftovers. Don't just save them, eat them.
5. Befriend your freezer. It's a waste delayer.We're throwing money out? That's just stupid, especially coupled with the money you waste in gas money driving to the store for food you'll just throw out. Here's a few things I'd add to Bloom's tips, specifically involving those steps to take before you buy your food:
- Take inventory + avoid a trip to the store: Look at what you already own in your pantries, refrigerators and freezers. Be creative with your meals, and go to the store only when you need something.
- Bring you own bags: Yes, a "green" commandment, but avoiding disposable bags and food packaging is a significant money and landfill saver.
- Buy in bulk: No, this doesn't mean a Costco run or becoming these people (Note: If you haven't seen this show, watch it. It's horrifying. Extreme couponing may save money, but how many things of toothpaste do you really need to stockpile during your lifetime?). Anyway, many food co-ops and health food stores have amazing bulk sections. When you buy flour, grains, nuts, seeds, and even some laundry detergents and shampoo in bulk, you avoid packaging. Remember to reuse clean, plastic or paper bags or fabric bags used for this purpose.