Natural Society

10 Ways to Reduce Food Waste and Save the Planet

I was recently sent an article by a dear friend that chronicles the life of a 20-something-New Yorker who claims that she live s a zero-waste life. I recycle tea bottles, and paper bags, and have a compost pile in my back yard. I also bring my own reusable bags to the store, and even re-use food containers, but I realized that my frequent trips to the grocery store were generating a lot more waste than I previously considered.

Information is power though, and via websites like zerowastehome.com, I’m learning how to stop contributing to the ridiculous amounts of trash (mostly plastic) that goes into landfills in the US every year, or the almost 35% level of edible food waste that occurs annually. This, when biotech erroneously tells us there isn’t enough food to feed the world.

You can reduce, too. Just follow these simple tips:

Read: 14 Easy Ways to Stop Wasting Food and Save Money

Stores can also consider going package-free. One grocery store in Germany, Original Unverpackt, sources food locally to reduce transportation costs and energy use. It also offers many items from gravity or bulk bins. Containers that can be reused are available, or better yet, you can bring your own. They also carry non-food products like cleaning products and personal care items.

In the US, First Alternative Natural Foods Coop located in Corvallis, Oregon, offers all dry goods (including herbs, spices, baking goods, pastas, dried fruit,and beans) in bulk, as well as tofu, mozzarella cheese, eggs, kombucha, honey, hazelnut butter, mustard, shampoo, body lotion, oils, henna, soaps, and even pet food.

Another zero-waste store is opening up in Austin, Texas. They plan to reduce their environmental footprint—petroleum consumption and transportation emissions specifically by offering zero-waste goods to consumers.

According to Treehugger.com:

“Americans add 570 million pounds of food packaging to their landfills each day, while pre-packaged foods force consumers to buy more than they need, stuffing their bellies and their trash bins: 27 percent of food brought into U.S. kitchens ends up getting tossed out.”

It is not only what you eat, but how it is packaged that makes a difference to overall food sustainability. When we think outside the plastic container, there is a lot of room for improvement. Maybe you can’t be zero-waste overnight, but you can certainly start to reduce your waste contribution, and be part of the solution.