banana peel

Many people think food waste is the safest thing to throw in the garbage. It all rots, right? Wrong! For food waste to compost properly, it needs light and air—of which there is very little in a landfill. So just like those plastic gee-gaws you can’t recycle, it’s going to sit there for a long, long time. Follow these four easy steps to reduce your food waste.

Shop Smart

One of the best ways to cut down on your food waste is to plan ahead. Plan your meals ahead of time, then make a shopping list and buy only the food you need in the quantities you’ll actually eat. Buy things from the bulk bins when you can, so you only get what you need, and try shopping at farmers markets or produce markets where you may be able to buy just one or two carrots instead of two pounds.

Store Properly

First, make sure your fridge is doing it’s job; buy a refrigerator thermometer and make sure your fridge is set in the safe zone. Next, learn the best way to store different fresh foods—Farm Fresh to You has a great guide—and then practice what you’ve learned. Make sure you understand what all those freshness dates on your foods really mean. Finally, organize your fridge so that you have a shelf dedicated to foods that need to be used up fast!

Use It All

Most little bits of leftovers can be used up in something else. Save really ripe or bruised fruit by freezing it for smoothies. Start a bag in your freezer for vegetable odds and ends to turn into soup or stock. Little bits of meat or fish leftovers can be put in a salad for lunch the next day. Get creative about using up every last bit.

Compost It

If you absolutely can’t eat it up (like banana peels), compost it! Composting is absolutely the most eco-friendly way to deal with plant-based food scrap. Plus, it’s amazing for your yard or garden. It’s the circle of life, baby!

Image: CarbonNYC