Reduce Food Waste with Our Produce Shelf Life Guide

Eliminating wasted food can be easy when you make it a part of your cooking routine, and we’ve got one simple tip to help you minimize food waste!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • May 28, 2019

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about waste reduction. Since it’s such an important topic, we want to help you understand the benefits of waste minimization and how you can put it into practice with one basic method that is made easy with our handy infographic.

First, let’s start with two main reasons to minimize food waste:

1. You can save $2K a year

On the most micro level, wasting less food means wasting less of your hard-earned cash. In 2012, the National Resources Defense Council estimated that the average US family throws away $2,200 worth of food every single year. Now we figure that you would rather keep that $2K and put it somewhere other than the garbage. Put the extra thousands towards student loans, sponsor a child in foster care, save for some rainy days, or get those car repairs you’ve been putting off.

2. You can help save the environment

On the macro level, a reduction in food waste means that less food is releasing greenhouse gasses as it sits in landfills. Now you may be thinking, “Eh, my food habits won’t make that much of a difference for climate change.” But the truth is that Americans waste 150,000 tons of food each day, which means each of us is wasting about one pound per day! Yikes. However, that also means that if every family tossed less each day, we could collectively make a big difference!

So, let’s give it a try together.

How to Reduce Your Daily Food Waste

There are many ways to reduce food waste, but the best place to start is by practicing one smart habit: always cook and eat the most perishable veggies first. That means that hearty ingredients like carrots, potatoes, or butternut squash can be saved for the end of the week while delicate veggies like chard and tomatoes should be used earliest to prevent spoiling.

Why start with vegetables? Well, around 50% of all produce in the United States is thrown away every year, which equals about 60 million tons. By simply throwing out less veggies every day, you can be part of a solution to the global food waste problem.

To help you sort out the shelf-life of most common vegetables, we have a free Produce Shelf Life Guide for you! This infographic is perfect for printing, laminating, and pinning up on your fridge for a daily reminder  – just like how Lifehacker did it here!


Produce Shelf Life Guide

Reduce food waste when you learn how to care for fresh produce.

It’s that easy to waste less. Once you get into the habit of always using perishable produce first, you won’t have to give it a second thought – it will simply be a part of your weekly cooking process.

Bonus Tips

If you’re excited about wasting less and are ready to hit the ground running, here are a few more practices you can introduce into your week:

  1. When grocery shopping, buy veggies from all three of our Produce Shelf Life Guide categories so that you only have to shop once for the week!
  2. Take a look at our 5 Delicious & Easy Ways to Use Up Leftover Vegetables to get 5 cooking formulas that will help you get rid of the random vegetables hanging out in your kitchen.
  3. Check out our Guide to Repurposing Leftover Ingredients to help you put everything in your fridge to good use. (You can also buy a print or poster here!)
  4. Learn 12 Food-Related Ways to Use Less Plastic to ensure even less of what you toss in the garbage ends up in a landfill.

While we may never accomplish zero waste living, we really can still have a significant impact on the world’s waste problem by implementing a few simple practices. We hope you will join us to help build a sustainable future . . . while also keeping a bit more cash in your bank account!

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Reduce Food Waste with Our Produce Shelf Life Guide | Cook SmartsReduce Food Waste with Our Produce Shelf Life Guide | Cook Smarts

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