Edit ModuleShow Tags

What You Can Do to Reduce Food Waste

What You Can Do to Reduce Food Waste | Food and Nutrition Magazine | Stone Soup Blog

Article author photo. Marcy Gaston, MS, RD, LDThis featured post is by Marcy Gaston, MS, RD, LD. You can follow this blogger @marcyella76.

How much do you think about food waste? Probably not much, based on current statistics. In the United States, about 30 to 40 percent of the food supply ends up as waste. That comes out to about 20 pounds of food waste per person every month, or 1,160 pounds of wasted food by every American family a year!

As I sit here and write this, I am realizing I need to clean out my refrigerator and throw out old food. As much as I try to prevent food waste by reinventing leftovers into other meals and freezing food, it seems inevitable.

But that's me, in my home. Let's look at food waste generated by businesses for a quick second. Say your local grocery store has a prepared food section with a soup bar. The store likely throws away all of its leftovers at the end of the day. While that soup in the garbage may seem like a big deal (Who cares about soup?), let me put in terms of amounts. Let's say there are three soups for sale. At the end of the day, two gallons of each soup remain. That six gallons of soup thrown away each night adds up to 42 gallons per week, or 2,184 gallons per year. 

Now, before you run out to the store to buy up all the soup from the deli to prevent it from being thrown out, contact the store and ask them their policy. Some stores already donate to soup kitchens, food pantries and other charities, but some don't. Ask your local grocery store to donate that soup and other foods to food pantries. Don't let them tell you that they fear litigation for expired foods. The Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, signed into law in 1996, protects from such lawsuits. Hunger is a real issue and so is food waste.

3 Things You Can Do to Fight Food Waste

While several cities such as Seattle and San Francisco have municipal recycling and composting programs, most of the United States does not. But you have other options for reducing food waste.

  • Only Buy Food You Need
    Write out a menu for the week in advance, and shop according to the menu. Whenever I fail to do this, I have a lot more food waste. Having a menu and grocery list forces me to take an inventory of the food in the refrigerator and pantry. As an added bonus, I spend a lot less time and money in the store. 
  • Cook from the Pantry, Freezer or Fridge
    This means using the foods you have that are ready to expire. I like to use up vegetables that are getting past their prime by making a frittata or soup. I also freeze leftover soups and meat to use at a later time. Doing this saves time and money because some days I don't want to make a big dinner. It's comforting to know there is leftover soup in the freezer that will be good for a weeknight dinner. 
  • Compost Food Waste
    Even if your local government doesn't require it, you can still start your own compost bin. Look online for websites and resources about starting and maintaining a compost bin.

These are just some ideas to get started thinking about food waste. I encourage you to enact steps in your household to reduce food waste and become a more knowledgeable consumer. 

Marcy Gaston, MS, RD, LD is currently a clinical dietitian at TriHealth in Cincinnati. While earning her master’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems from Montana State University in 2014, she collaborated on many projects including a community food truck, which sold affordable fresh produce to low-income residents in Bozeman. Read her blog, Cooking Sustainably, and follow her on Twitter.

(Photo: s-c-s/iStock/ThinkStock)

Edit Module

More Stone Soup

Changing Lives, One Garden at a Time

Changing Lives, One Garden at a Time

August is Kids Eat Right Month – a new nutrition education initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Foundation.
A Favorite Pho Recipe

A Favorite Pho Recipe

My dad has been making this Vietnamese treat for us since we were kids, just like his mom used to make for him and his siblings.
Trimmed-down Sweet Noodle Kugel

Trimmed-down Sweet Noodle Kugel

When I started making this Jewish holiday favorite for my own family, I tweaked the recipe to bring down the calories, saturated fat and added sugars, without sacrificing the sweetness and creaminess.
The Tomato-Watering Machine

The Tomato-Watering Machine

After a winter storm in early May and 67-degree days and drizzle in mid-June, buying plants for a garden seemed like a risk. However, my friend, who is a master gardener, convinced me. She volunteered me for an experiment she wanted to try — a tomato-watering machine.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Advertise with Food & Nutrition
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Stone Soup

Guest bloggers from around the world share with Food & Nutrition Magazine.

About This Blog

Stone Soup is a guest blog written by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Content — including information, recipes and views expressed — is that of the authors and does not reflect the positions or policies of Food & Nutrition Magazine or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Bloggers are required to pledge they will not write for Stone Soup on topics, companies or trade organization they currently represent or have represented at any time.

Learn about our guest blogs!

Comments Policy

Food & Nutrition Magazine provides this forum to exchange ideas, opinions and contributions within a positive community. Diverse viewpoints and constructive, respectful dialogue are welcome. Rudeness, misinformation, self-promotion and abuse are not. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate this policy or our Terms & Conditions. You must include your name or be logged into a personal account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to comment.


Edit Module

Get Stone Soup in Your RSS

Use your RSS reader's instructions to add Stone Soup to your list:

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Stone Soup Feed »

Get Our Blogs in Your Email

Stone Soup
Student Scoop