97% of wasted food ends up in our landfills? According to the EPA that equates to about 34 million tons of waste. The problem is that wasted food produces methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas that is contributing to the climate change problem. Also by not being mindful about your food consumption you are throwing money down the drain. I recently read a statistic that said a family of four on average wastes about $1,365-$2,275 a year on food. That is money that could be going towards your retirement, or pay off debt. To help you reduce your carbon footprint and put money back in your pocket here are 6 easy ways to reduce food waste.

1. Check out fridge & pantry before grocery shopping

Before you go to the store go through your fridge and pantry to take inventory of what you have on hand. That way you aren’t stuck at the store wondering if you have enough eggs, and end up buying a carton only to find that you have plenty of eggs when you get home.

2. Plan your menus & make a shopping list

My wife and I have been trying to get better at planning our meals before we go to the store. This way we are only buying the food that we need, which cuts down on our shopping expenses and food waste. We have also started using eMeals, which has been helpful in giving us healthy ideas and simple shopping lists.

3. Only buy in bulk if you can finish before bad

When my wife and I started being more mindful with our shopping we stopped going to Costco as much. The lure of buying items in bulk at a lower cost can be very attractive to families that are trying to save money. Let’s be real with ourselves when are we ever going to need 2 liters of Ketchup? If the food ends up going bad you end up loosing money instead of saving.

4. Freeze produce before bad

If you end up with extra fruits and vegetables put them in a ziplock back, and toss them in the freezer before they go bad. If you don’t want them to taste like freezer burn incorporate them in your meal plan and use them within a few weeks.

5. Donate to food bank

It makes me sad to think that we have all this food waste, yet there are still millions families that are struggling to put food on their tables. If you have unused items in your pantry consider donating it to a food bank. There are even centers that will take surplus from your garden.

6. Start a compost

Keep food waste from building up in our landfills by making a compost. Composts are easy to create and maintain, and there are so many good uses for the mulch that the compost produces. There are even ways to compost if you live in an apartment, so no one is off the hook. I hope this helps you reduce food waste, and keep more money in your pocket. If you have any other tips feel free to leave them below in the comments. Photo Credit: Flickr]]>