Reducing food waste

Composting is great, but reducing food waste is even better. Here are some ways to reduce food waste – which will often also save you money!

1.    Know what you need. Don’t overbuy. 

  • Meal prep
  • Freeze food
  • Take “shelfies,” photos of your fridge and freezer every couple of days to remind you what’s there and what’s missing. 

2.    Store smart. 

  • Store herbs and green onions with the stems in freshwater, place a bag over the top, and place in the fridge. You can also freeze herbs (see “Freezing Foods”).
  • Store bread in a bread box or on the countertop in a paper bag. After around two days, you can freeze bread and toast it when you want to thaw it.
  • Store apples, bananas, and avocados away from other fruits, which they cause to ripen more quickly.
  • Wrap the stems of bananas in plastic or tape to reduce the amount of ethylene that escapes.
  • Use produce-saving containers, including containers with air vents, “foodhuggers,” and ethylene-reducing produce bags.
  • Store condiments in the fridge once opened, except for olive oil which should be stored in the dark in a moderate-temperature zone.
  • Freeze foods.
    •  Herbs: chop and place in an ice cube tray. Add boiling water to blanch, then freeze.
    • Fruits: Chop at peak-ripeness and freeze in reusable containers. Or, prepare a smoothie bag of a combination of different fruits ready to pour straight into a blender.
    • Tomato pastes and eggs: These can both be stored in ice cube trays.
    • Milk. Be sure to freeze before it’s use-by date. Once thawed, it’s best used within a week.
  • Store dry foods like cereal, oats, pasta, and rice in airtight containers
  • Store onions in a dark, well-aerated place, away from potatoes.

3)    Donate extra food.

  • Check for donation policies at local pantries. 
  • Gardeners can sign up to have their produce picked up by Glean KY on the Nourish Lexington website.
  • Nourish Lexington in partnership with Glean KY created a form for food-related businesses with extra ingredients to donate. 
  • Businesses that regularly have extra produce can sign up with Glean KY to have their produce picked up and distributed for free to hunger programs in Kentucky. Fill out a source application on their website.

For more information on food storage strategies, googling the following terms can help:

  • Fruits that produce ethylene
  • Produce-saving containers 
  • DIY food produce-saving storage
  • How to store food for freshness