Since many cities and regions require food waste to be disposed of separately, here are 4 left of center ways to keep food out of the trash altogether.
By some estimates, Americans waste about 40 percent of the food they buy or prepare. If you use a garbage disposal, that’s a lot of money — not to mention effort — literally going right down the drain.
Of course, if you don’t have a disposal, throwing food in the trash isn’t really any better. Looking for more environmentally friendly and meaningful ways to handle uneaten food? Check out these five great ways to put your food waste to good use.
Composting is the natural way to create the nutrient-rich soil plants need to thrive. Organic food waste (no meats, please!) is the perfect foundation for composting. You don’t even need a lot of space or a big backyard to compost; small space composting is great for apartment and townhouse dwellers who just want to grow some houseplants or herbs. Worried you’ll have more compost than you can use? Donate it to an urban garden!
2. Take stock and make stock
Bones, meat scraps, and leftover vegetables are the perfect building blocks for luscious stocks you can use in all kinds of recipes. You probably won’t get enough from a single meal to make stock worthwhile, so collect scraps in heavy-duty freezer bags until you have what you need.
A home-made stock can be used to make healthy homemade soups, stews, and casseroles, making your food dollars go farther. You can even freeze it for up to six months so you can cook when the mood strikes you.
3. Make Homemade Teas and Potpourris
Citrus peels, leftover herbs and spices, and even leftover fruits such as apples and pears, can be used to make yummy teas and fragrant potpourris. Dried apple slices, cinnamon sticks, a bit of dried lemon peel, and a few whole cloves tossed in a bowl makes a pretty potpourri that smells like apple pie.
Dried lemon and orange peels combined with dried rose hips makes an easy herbal tea just loaded with vitamin C. Eventually, these items will still go into your food waste bin, or your compost. But, you’ll get a second use of them that will add to the sensual delights of your home.
4. Pickle, Can, and Preserve
Why not cut down on wasted food by preserving it before it goes bad and needs to be thrown out? One key to a sustainable lifestyle is using the food you have. Pickle those carrots, cauliflower, and peppers before they go bad for a lovely homemade giardiniera. Can some homemade sauce with overripe tomatoes. Freeze unused fruits and berries for an unexpected winter treat.
5. Buy less perishable food
Given that so much food is wasted in North America, it’s probably time for all of us to consider how much food we actually need. Maybe its time for us to sit down and figure out how much food we’re throwing away, and adjust our buying habits accordingly. While we’re at it, maybe connecting with local businesses and officials about retail food waste where we live is also a good idea to see to reducing food waste even before consumers come into the picture.
That forty percent number seems a little high, especially when we think of the limited resources our planet can provide for us. Thinking about ways to pull that number down is just a good idea.
Lots of leftover food and organic food waste? Don’t worry if you don’t have a garbage disposal. These five great ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle mealtime scraps are environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives.