Believe it or not: Americans throw away $165 billion dollars in food each year. That means 40% of food is wasted every year! There are clearly many ways food is wasted, but one way is in our own homes. Too often, food gets pushed to the back of our refrigerators, freezers, or pantries and forgotten about for months or even years to come. We’re left scratching our heads and wondering if a food item is still safe to eat. Or, if it goes bad, we end up throwing food away and wasting not only that food, but money. It affects our environment and our own wallet.
To clear up the gray area and to help reduce food waste, Kitchen Cabinet Kings put together a helpful guide that breaks down the average lifespan of common household foods. It can be helpful to reference this chart next time you grocery shop and create simple labels on your food. You can avoid food waste and getting sick by eating potentially spoiled food. Check out the full infographic below that details each food item broken down by storage medium in your freezer, refrigerator, or pantry.
In 2010, around one-third of the food produced in the United States was not consumed, and ended up being wasted. That is a troubling statistic, and represents a food waste crisis that if left ignored will continue to burn holes in the pockets of families, and contribute to waste and the myriad problems it causes our planet.
One of the first things you can do to cut food waste in your home is to stop treating the “best-before,” “use-by,” and “sell-by” labels as gospel that determine when food must instantly been thrown out. These labels are used for shelving and inventory purposes in stores, and you should always trust your eyes and nose before you trust a number on a package. Consider using food rather than throwing it out, unless your senses tell you otherwise!
Make your meal plans and take stock of what you have in your fridge and pantry before you go shopping, and shop accordingly. Consider joining a CSA to take advantage of freshness, and buy your groceries a few times a week and when needed, rather than all at once.
Food waste is one of the planet’s easier dilemmas to solve. While challenging, the solution will be more about changing people’s mindsets than creating over-complicated, high-tech answers. The first step? Understanding where food waste happens and how we can change the world by changing the way we eat.
Reduce Your Waste
Lower your grocery bills and environmental footprint by reducing your food waste.
Whether you are at home, school, or work, you are surrounded by opportunities to reduce food waste. So where do you begin?
Identify areas for improvement and choose your favourite strategies for cutting waste.
Sugar and flour are two basic pantry staples. In previous generations, before mass-produced convenience foods were the norm, households stocked up on flour and sugar, used to make such basics as breads and other bakery items. For our great-grandparents, the need for long-term flour and sugar storage was often due to the inability to get to the market during some seasons. In modern times, households unable to use an entire package of flour or sugar within a short time frame must safely store flour and sugar for a long period.
No matter how clean you keep your kitchen, pests cans still cause problems in your pantry. They enter your home in a variety of ways and seek out improperly stored foods to lay eggs in. The eggs hatch into larva that look like worms, and they can spoil your food as they grow into full-fledged insects. The key to preventing worms in your food is to be proactive and make sure your flours and grains are stored properly as soon as you get home from the store.