Make Wasted Food a Thing of the Past

By Liz Sundin

We all have those days – you’re cleaning out the refrigerator and you find long-lost produce that is definitely no longer edible. While lamenting the wasted money you just threw into your garbage can, you promise yourself that you will pay attention next time and not forget about the fresh food in your fridge. But, if you’re anything like me, that’s a promise that’s easier said than done.

That is why our Food: Too Good to Waste Toolkit is so awesome. It gives simple tips about how to reduce your wasted food in five different ways through Getting Smart, Smart Shopping, Smart Storage, Smart Prep and Smart Saving.

Check out how some of our staff members reduced their wasted food through awareness and simple strategies:

  • Get Smart: I didn’t realize how many peppers, bananas, herbs and crackers I let go bad or stale until I started measuring the food I waste.
  • Smart Shopping: I plan my meals for the week before I go to the grocery store. That way, I can make a list beforehand, and only buy what’s on the list. This saves me money, since having a list means I’m less likely to grab random items. And it makes sure that the food I buy is food I have every intention to use.

    Past their prime apples destined for sauce, baked goods or shredded with potatoes for latkes or pancakes.

    Past their prime apples destined for sauce, baked goods or shredded with potatoes for latkes or pancakes.

  • Smart Storage: I try to store my food where it will stay fresh the longest, so apples in the fridge and potatoes in a cool, dark place. Plus, I buy in bulk and then freeze items like chicken or bread until I’m ready to use them, which saves me money and keeps me from wasting food.
  • Smart Prep: I’ve found it’s so much easier to prep my meals for the week right after I get home from the grocery store (wash, chop, sort and properly store). Then I can relax after work and enjoy a pre-made, delicious, healthy meal and I’ve noticed much less goes to waste.
  • Smart Saving: I don’t go shopping for new food until I’ve used what I already bought. It really helps me plan my meals beforehand so I’m not wasting produce that I forget about.

Add some of these tips into your daily life and next time you’re cleaning out your fridge, you may be less likely to have any wilted or fuzzy produce to throw away!


Liz Sundin is a Public Affairs Specialist in EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery.

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