Food Waste Reduction Tips

How much preventable food waste are you tossing out?

At our San Jose processing facility, we divert food waste from the landfill by recovering organics out of the solid waste stream. The recovered organics are processed into landscape compost. Composting creates a beneficial use for organic waste, but food waste prevention should be the first step! The Environmental Protection Agency distinguishes between two types of food waste:  

  • NON-EDIBLE food waste is everything you would not normally eat, such as banana peels, eggshells, apple cores and chicken bones.  
  • PREVENTABLE food waste is both food you bought to eat but has since spoiled and food that was prepared but not eaten and was then thrown away. 

Store Smartly

Secure bags with chip clips, rubber bands, or transfer open bags to closed containers.  

  • Reuse tip– Save used glass jars for food storage! Run your glass jar through the dishwasher and then fill with cereal, granola, crackers and more. 

Give leftovers the spotlight. Designate an area in your refrigerator as an “Eat First” section. Put leftovers and food nearing expiration dates here to avoid being forgotten.  

Get to know which produce items are friends or foes. Produce that emits more ethylene gas (e.g. bananas, avocados, tomatoes) need to be stored separately from ethylene sensitive produce (e.g., potatoes, apples, leafy greens). For a detailed list on how to store different foods check out Save the Food’s Storage Guide.  

Befriend Your Freezer

Preventable food waste can be reduced by delaying food decay. The freezer is one of the best tools to combat throwing away edible food. Going out of town? Bought too much produce? Freeze it!  

If bread is molding faster than you can eat it, try toasting it directly from the freezer.  Meat nearing the expiration date can be cooked and then frozen for an easy meal later. Overripe bananas and no time to bake? Peel and freeze to use when you have time. 

Plan Ahead

Stick to a shopping listInventorying what you already have and plan to make helps prevent overbuying. To see how much and what is not being eaten, take the EPA’s Food Waste Challenge, which measures how much preventable food waste your household creates. The challenge is great activity for the whole family! 

Get Creative

Try out Save the Food’s Recipe List for food scraps. Learn how to turn mashed potatoes to donuts, cook with veggies scraps typically thrown away, and revive overripe and stale foods