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Why is reducing food waste so important?

It saves Money

Wasting food is expensive. Every year, Americans lose more than $218 billion on wasted food. In Florida, the average family of four throws out around $1,600 worth of food annually. Households are responsible for the most wasted food. If we begin to reduce and prevent food waste, we can save that money that is wasted on spoiled food.

It reduces hunger in our communities

In the US, approximately 40% of all food grown and produced is never eaten. That’s a lot of food wasted that could go to people that don’t have access to food. 1 in 5 people lack consistent access to nutritious food, while up to 3 million tons of wasted food goes to landfills annually. Recovered food provides an additional source of nutritious food.

It protects the environment

Reducing food waste is the #1 personal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while safeguarding critical natural resources. When food is wasted, it goes into a landfill. Once in a landfill, food waste breaks down and emits greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Methane is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, making it more damaging to the environment. If we reduce food waste, we could save the environment from this damage.

What Can I Do?

At home
  • Save leftovers and store/freeze food in portion-ready containers

  • Cook only what is needed for that meal

  • Make one night a weekly “leftover” night to empty the refrigerator before shopping again

  • Audit what you throw away; it will influence your next shopping trip

  • Keep kitchen essentials on hand (grains, spices, sauces) that bring new life to old meals

  • Freeze ripe fruits and vegetables for baking, cooking and filling in gaps in recipes

  • Compost 

At the grocery store
  • Plan menus for the week and prepare a shopping list

  • Stick to your shopping list

  • Match your shopping to the reality of your week

  • Buy smaller quantities, if appropriate, to avoid spoilage and waste

  • Don’t shop hungry

  • Pay in cash so the amount your spending is tangible

  • If you bought items that you won’t use, donate them before the expiration date


At work
  • If you bring a lunch, bring only what you will eat

  • In the case of leftovers, save for the next day, if you have a work refrigerator

  • If you brought too much, share with others

  • If ordering takeout/delivery, save leftovers or share an order

  • Bring leftovers from dinner last night

Food Storage Tips


Some tips to keep them from going soft on us too quickly:

  • Keep ‘em cold and dry – Store them in the original container in the fridge and hold off on washing until you’re ready to eat them.

  • Don’t let a bad strawberry spoil the rest – Sort through your berries before you refrigerate and pick out any that are moldy or spoiled.

  • Freeze for later – To enjoy the bright, sweet taste of summer throughout the year, you can freeze fresh whole or sliced berries. To freeze, rinse, remove the green stems and caps, dry well, and freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen solid, place in sealed containers and return to the freezer.


Broccoli prefers to be cold and slightly damp, and likes air circulation. The best two options for storing it in the fridge for up to a week:

  • Wrap in a slightly damp towel before putting your broccoli in the fridge.

  • Stand a full head of broccoli in the fridge in a glass so air can circulate around its head, as if it were flowers in a vase.

If you want to keep it fresh for longer, you can prep and freeze:

  • Cut the florets (the bushy part) from the stem, drop in boiling water for just a minute or two to blanche, let it dry well and then store in a sealed bag or container in the freezer. This will keep in the freshness – blanched, frozen broccoli can last up to 1 year in the freezer.

  • Room temperature is best – Tomatoes retain their flavor and ripen best at room temperature rather than in the fridge. So best to store on the counter, out of direct sunlight in a single layer stem side down.

  • Happiest alone – Tomatoes ripen best if kept apart from other summer fruits and vegetables.

  • Extend their life in the fridge – Once ripe, if you’re not using them immediately you can store them in an air-tight container in the fridge, where they will generally retain their form and flavor for up to a week.

  • Freeze whole – If you have an excess of ripe tomatoes, you can freeze them whole to use later for soups, stews or sauce. Just remove stems and freeze (optional, remove core). If you have the space and time, flash freeze in single layer on a baking sheet until frozen solid, then move to sealed containers and return to the freezer. Or simply place fresh tomatoes in storage containers and set in the freezer. Defrost, core and use as you would canned tomatoes.


These common comfort food ingredients prefer to be alone in the dark. 

  • Store them in a cool, dry place

  • Keep 'em separated: These vegetables don't play nice together in the cupboard. Potatoes stored with onions will sprout and rot more quickly than if they are stored separately. So keep them away from each other.


To keep your oranges and grapefruit sweet and juicy, you want to keep them cold and dry:

  • Citrus will last about a week on the counter but can keep fresh up to a month in the fridge.

  • Make sure your oranges and grapefruits are dry before you store them in the fridge. This will reduce rot and prevent spoilage.


Cold, fresh milk beats spoiled milk any day. Here’s how we can make the most of our milk, keeping it freshest longest:

  • Milk stays best in coldest part of the fridge – If you can, store it towards the back of the fridge, and on the lowest shelf (that’s normally the coolest part of your fridge). And check your fridge temperature if you can - the best temperature for milk to prevent it from going bad is just above freezing between 33–37 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Milk can be frozen to keep even longer – If you have more than you need, you can freeze milk to preserve it for up to six months. Pro tip: Milk expands when frozen so remove 1 cup of milk from container before freezing. Once ready to drink, defrost in the refrigerator.


Cherries love the cold. Store them in the fridge and they will keep fresh longer.

  • Keep’em cool – Apples prefer to hang out in the fridge. They will last 6-8 weeks in the fridge vs. about one week if left out on the counter.

  • Apples are happier alone – Keep them away from others fruit and vegetables as they emit ethylene gas which hastens ripening of everything around them.

  • One bad apple can really spoil the bunch – Handle your apples like eggs to prevent bruising. But if you do happen to have a bruised apple or two, separate from the bunch and eat soon. A bruised apple left with others will make them all rot faster.


These days avocados are everywhere. Here are some tips to keep them ripe and ready:

  • Your avocados ripen best if you keep them on the counter.

  • Avocados adore the dark, so keep them out of direct sunlight.

  • Once they are ripe, you can keep them a few days longer if you store them in the fridge.


Want to know if your pear is ripe and ready to eat? Check the neck (the top part near the stem) – if it gives a little to the touch, it’s ready to eat.

Here’s how to ripen and store your pears this fall:

  • If you want your pears to ripen, keep them on the counter at room temperature for 2-4 days; once they ripen, you can keep them longer in the fridge if you’re not ready to eat them right away.

  • If you’re looking to keep them a while before ripening, throw them in the fridge, and they can last several weeks without spoiling.

  • Pears are best kept apart from other fruit – to avoid spoilage, keep pears away from apples, bananas and avocados.


Peaches should be stored at room temperature and eaten when you feel a ‘little give’ with a gentle squeeze.

  • Once peaches are ripe, you can move them from the counter to the fridge to keep ripe for about a week.

  • Peaches prefer to hang out alone – keeping them separated from other fruits will keep them fresh and tasty longer.

  • Freezing peaches when fresh and in season is a great idea – you can rinse and cut peaches into slices, soak in a water/ lemon juice bath (to prevent browning use about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to 4 cups of water), and freeze first on a cookie sheet for 4 to 24 hours. Next transfer to an air-tight storage container and return to the freezer, where they will last up to 1 year.


Freeze for later: When we find a good deal or just have more than we can keep fresh for the week, it’s often easier than we think to freeze and enjoy later. Yep – milk, orange juice, strawberries, mashed avocados, broccoli, even whole apples can be frozen to enjoy later.


Save it from getting lost in the fridge (or freezer): Sometimes the best tips are the most obvious. And some things just don’t last for more than a few days. So keep them up front or in a special area of your fridge (or freezer) so you see them and remember to enjoy them before they spoil.

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