Homecooked meals are a fun treat, and eating out to support local businesses is a great way to try out new cuisines – but what happens to the food that isn’t consumed? According to the EPA, roughly 22 percent of discarded waste is food-based. In fact, food is the most wasted item that reaches landfills compared to any other material.
Not only does wasted food contribute to growing landfills, but it can also indirectly impact marine life food chains. Food litter or improper disposal in the streets, or near beaches can cause food to wind up in the ocean, causing confusion and disruption for marine life.
Here are a few tips on how to help your household limit food waste and keep Hawaii trash free:
Make shopping lists before heading to the store or buy online to reduce the likelihood of impulse buying. Consider writing out specific meals before purchasing food. Buying local is another great way to help local farmers and reduce the need for transported goods.
Freeze-drying produce or keeping perishable items in a dry and cool location can help keep food fresher for longer periods of time. Use your pantry and keep it organized so you are aware of what you already have before shopping.
Organic and natural foods can be composted and used as soil boosters. Compost is a great way to rid yourself of food waste without contributing to methane gas build up. Remember, produce can be composted, but meats and cheeses should be disposed of separately.
Growing your own produce provides a fun and rewarding hobby, while also saving money at the grocery store. Look into ‘drought-tolerant’ plants as well, these items can last on minimal water consumption.
Single use plastic bags, wrap, and cutlery can often be used to store and transport food and beverages. Invest in reusable bottles and bags, or better yet, craft your own! If you must use disposable cutlery, try out compostable or wooden options, and be sure to dispose of them properly.