Food Waste Reduction

Tools to Reduce Food Waste
Approximately 20% of trash in American households is food waste. The massive volume of food that is thrown away is a huge waste of resources, and a huge source of carbon emissions, not to mention hard on your wallet. The average family of four spends $1,500 per year on food they don’t eat! Here are some tips for reducing food waste to save money and lessen your carbon footprint.

  • Take Inventory. Before you go to the grocery store, look at what items you already have that you need to use up. Use this worksheet to keep track.
  • Meal plan. Plan out what meals you will make that week and what ingredients you still need to make those meals. Plan for a “lazy day” in case you eat out or eat leftovers. You don’t want to buy more food than you need! Use this worksheet from Hennepin County to help you plan out your weekly meals.
  • Make a list, and stick to it! This will prevent you from making excess purchases.
  • Get creative! Visit to find lots of great recipes to make with food scraps, ugly produce, and underutilized parts of vegetables.
  • Store food properly. See this Food Storage Guide on the proper ways to store common types of fruits and vegetables.
  • Create an “Eat First” Bin. Place food that has been in the fridge longer into an “Eat First” bin to be used up before it goes bad.
  • Understand “Sell By” dates. These labels indicate peak quality and nutrition, but they do not necessarily mean that food is “spoiled” or unable to be eaten if the date has passed. See this video from the FDA about understanding date labels.
  • Compost what you can’t use. See the Organics tab for how to compost in Shorewood.