15 Ways To Reduce Food Waste At Home, In Restaurants And At The Store

Madelyn Conway, contributing author

In the US alone, 90% of our food scraps end up in landfills, so why not re-purpose, reheat or reduse that waste! 

Posted on March 19, 2019, at 10:07 p.m. in Buzzfeed  

maddy9502Community Contributor 

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As children, we were taught that we had to finish our food or we would see it again the next night as leftovers (or at least that was the way it was in my house). Even today many people still hold these morals, but a “normal” serving is becoming to much to handle. Since 1982, the average size of a cookie has increased by 700% and the average bagel has increased to 6 inches in diameter rather than the modest 3 inches. 











As our food continues to grow, the amount of trash it creates is growing with it. Here are 15 ways to reduce food waste at home, in restaurants, and out shopping! 

  1. Only buy/order what you can eat.







Today, the average family spends $1,500 on food that is eventually thrown out and restaurants generate 11.4 billion pounds of waste. We’ve all had an experience where “our eyes are bigger than our stomachs”, so why not continue to eat and shop with the smaller portions mentality. 

  1. Be less picky about produce’s appearance.










Approximately 72 billion pounds of perfectly good produce is trashed at some point in the food production cycle, most notably at the farms. Our standards with the ways fruits and veggies should look has left most of a farmers crop in the field. Buying at farmers markets can help to lower those chances of an “ugly” produce getting thrown out and it still tastes good too! 

  1. Stick to your list!

Avoid impulse buys because they are often trashed. Buying perishable or special items without a use for them is asking for trouble! 

  1. Shop Inside Out










When it comes time to go to the grocery store, hit the center isles first. Once you get to the outer isles (usually produce), you’ll be less tempted by the smells! 

  1. Use it up, and don’t overstock.

Keep a list of foods that will expire soon so you know when to use it. Along with that, don’t overfill your fridge make sure you know whats in there so nothing is forgotten. 

  1. Go with clear containers.

Being able to see whats inside a container allows you to avoid fearing whats inside it. Knowing what you have in your fridge and cabinets lets you know what to do with it. 

  1. Label Things











Create your own “Best By” dates on when you bought your foods so they don’t meet a frozen demise. 

  1. Be Mindful of Expiration Dates








Best by dates are often used by those shipping the food and the stores receiving it. More often than not that date on the label means that it will still have a shelf life after that point. The only product required by the USDA to have an expiration date is baby formula. A good resource to double check if something is good is your nose! 

  1. Move your Milk










The door is the warmest part of a fridge, so try moving it towards the middle or down, the lower the shelf the colder. This will give your milk so extra life. 


  1. Be informed on portions.










Asking your server about how large portions are can save you wasted food in the long run. Seeing if half-portions are available is also a safe bet! 


  1. Order what you want.

Don’t feel pressured to buy a whole meal if your not hungry for it. If a few appetizers or small meals are more your speed go for it! 


  1. Eat with the intent of leftovers.










If you think that the meal you make tonight is going to be your lunch tomorrow, eat the meal with that intent! That means don’t over-consume, maybe eat an appetizer and half your entree rather than a little of both. 


  1. Left overs aren’t always best.

If you know that you won’t be able to bring your leftovers to your next stop (travelling, hot car, not going straight home), maybe order more conservatively so that leftovers can be avoided. 

  1. Compost!










If you’re food is unavoidably wasted, send it back to the dirt by composting. Compost is a great fertilizer for home gardens, and often can produce even tastier produce. 


  1. Keep homemade salad undressed










If your’e planning to serve large amounts of salad to guest, put the dressings and toppings on the side to keep from overnight wilt, and you can continue to have a green salad for longer.