Earth Day began in 1970 and is celebrated each year on April 22. It is a day when environmentalists work to raise awareness about environmental issues and mobilize the public to take action that preserves the health of the Earth’s environment. There are many ways to help protect the planet, and your daily food choices can make a huge impact! This Earth Day, let us share a few ways you can help protect the environment.

What is Earth Day?

When Earth Day began, it was an initiative started by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. His mission was to bring the environment to the forefront of political conversations. On the first Earth Day, an estimated 20 million people across America attended festivities! The celebratory day has continued to be a way to bring eco-friendly living to the top of everyone’s minds each year. Today, these issues continue to be extremely important. Climate change has an effect on our lives in many ways, and our food systems are part of the problem. This Earth Day, learn how you can do your part to reduce food waste and help work towards a solution!

5 Tips for Reducing Food Waste this Earth Day

We waste a significant amount of the food produced in America! That includes uneaten leftovers and food that goes bad before it’s cooked. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 30 to 40 percent of our food is wasted. That’s an estimated 133 billion pounds of food. Minimizing food waste helps consumers save money, provides more resources for communities that don’t have enough to eat, and conserves our precious resources so that they can sustain future generations! So how can you do your part to reduce food waste this Earth Day? Try our suggestions below.

1. Plan your meals ahead of time

By making a list of all the meals you’ll eat in a week, you can shop for the exact ingredients and amounts you need. If you only buy the things you need you’ll be less likely to end up with excess food wilting in the fridge. Check your fridge and pantry before you go shopping and make sure you know what you already have so that you don’t purchase duplicates. It can also be helpful to have a few go-to meals that you enjoy and can make often, as you’ll know exactly what you need for these recipes.

2. Try a meal delivery service

Meal delivery services are a great way to reduce your food waste. The company you order from will take care of everything — simply select your delivery date, input any food preferences or restrictions, how many people you need meals for, and order. Food then arrives at your home for you to enjoy. The great thing about these services is that they’ll not only save you time, but the chefs are also professionals and know exactly how much they need to buy of each ingredient to make your meals.

3. Store your food properly

Properly storing your groceries can make them last a lot longer. If you’re unsure how to store fruits and veggies, that can lead to them molding or wilting faster. Google the specific food if you don’t know what to do. Generally, it’s smart to refrigerate fruits and veggies that will go bad quickly such as leafy greens, and berries. There’s no need to refrigerate potatoes, uncut tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, or onions. Animal products should always be kept cool in the refrigerator.

4. Try the First In First Out (FIFO) method

This refers to a food storage system of rotating your dry good food so that you use the oldest items first. This method is often used in restaurants and school cafeteria programs, it’s a great way to ensure food won’t expire before you have a chance to use them. It’s very effective when used at home as well. When you purchase something new, such as a can of black beans, place that brand new can behind any other cans that will expire sooner. Be diligent about checking expiration dates, and keep your food organized by what will go bad sooner. This helps make sure you see it at the front of your pantry and use it! Use this method for canned goods, dry goods, and frozen foods (moving the oldest items to the front of your freezer).

5. Avoid wasting leftovers

Plan to eat everything you cook or include your leftovers in other meals! A great way to do this is to make lunch wraps using extra cooked items from dinner the night before. Or, try making a big soup or stew at the end of the week with anything that didn’t get used for previous meals. Broth, leftover veggies, plus quinoa or rice, lentils or beans, and some delicious spices combine to make a great meal and use up any leftovers. Another way to make sure you don’t contribute to food waste is to learn how to use parts of veggies you might not normally. If you typically toss your broccoli stems or carrot greens, look up recipes that put these leftover veggies to delicious use!

Bonus Tip. Limit greenhouse gas emissions

Food loss and waste account for around 8 to 10 percent of all human contributions to greenhouse gas emissions. Then, when food is thrown out it typically ends up in landfills. Food in landfills generates methane and contributes to climate change. Animal agriculture accounts for an additional 30 to 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock also uses a huge amount of water, and land which contributes to other issues such as deforestation. So, by reducing your food waste you can help limit emissions and protect the environment! You can also do your part by eating less meat and limiting your contribution to emissions that way.

This year celebrate Earth Day by doing something good for the planet by limiting your food waste. And if you want to learn about how a meal delivery service can help, contact Dinner Deliver!