How to reduce food waste
Updated: Apr 17
When you start going zero waste, you find that the kitchen can be a place that produces a lot of waste when you are not careful. Reducing food waste is not only great for your wallet, but it also reduces your carbon footprint. Think about all the energy that is invested in producing, harvesting and transporting crops before they end up on your plate. It just makes me sad to think that a lot of that energy is wasted because people throw away food with slight imperfections. To help you reduce your food waste, I give you a few tips here.
I usually plan an entire week in advance so it doesn’t bother me anymore and gives me peace of mind the rest of the week. Planning your meals is also a great way to use what you have in the house and helps you make sure you buy what you actually need. Meal planning gives more overview and makes you use items that spoil fast first.
There are some great apps out there to help you out but I am more a pen and paper kind of girl. It gives me a better overview and I remember better. Choose whatever option you prefer.
Usually, I try to make enough food for the entire family but sometimes I make too much or we were not as hungry as anticipated. So I end up with leftovers. I always store leftovers in the freezer. I label the jars with what’s in them and make a list on the fridge with the number of leftover jars are currently in the freezer. When there are enough leftovers (usually 4 or 5) I plan a day where we eat all the leftovers. I remove the jars from the freezer in the morning of that day and let them thaw during the day. Towards the evening it is no longer frozen and ready to be heated in the microwave.
Some people also like to have leftovers for lunch the next day but I personally don’t like eating the same thing two days in a row. If you don't have a problem with that, it is a great way to use some of your leftovers.
The freezer is a great place to not only store food leftovers but also to store your bulk bought goods. But how often has it happened to you that you bought a large quantity of something that would be great to have on hand in the freezer and then completely forgot about it? Yeah…. me too. So, keep an inventory of your freezer in a handy place like on the fridge. This will give you a clear overview of the food you currently have in the house so you can make your shopping list accordingly.
If you have a very large fridge it might be a good idea to make compartments in the freezer to keep a better overview of what you have. We have a freezer with drawers so, each one has it’s own category. One has fruits (for jam making (we have a very happy blackberry bush that makes enough for the entire neighborhood)). One with veggies, one with bread, one with vegan snacks and ice cream) and one with jars with leftovers (yes, we have a large freezer).
Composting could be an entire chapter but it is a great method to repurpose all the other food scraps that are just not suitable for consumption. Composting can be a bit scary but a small indoor composting bin is a great place to start. It does not require lots of space and is very affordable. Even with a compost starter, it could set you back less than $30,-.
I hope these tips give you some inspiration to make your kitchen more sustainable on your zero waste journey as reducing food waste not only saves you lots of money, it also saves you lots of time.