Homecooked meals are a fun treat, and getting take-out to support local businesses is a great way to try 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 our landfills compared to any other material.
Not only does wasted food contribute to growing landfills, it also impacts our marine life. Throwing away your food improperly – on the street or near the beach – can cause food to wind up in the ocean. This disrupts marine life and can cause harm to our reefs.
Here are a few tips on how to help your household limit food waste and keep Hawaii trash free:
Buy only what you need
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.
Master your food storage
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.
Plant a garden
Growing your own produce provides a fun and rewarding hobby, while also saving money at the grocery store. Look into ‘drought-tolerant’ plants – these items can last on minimal water consumption.
Eliminate single uses
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.