< back

5 Practical Ways to Avoid Food Waste

May 15, 2019

At Sifted, we take pride in our dedication to sustainability and making a positive impact on the environment. One of the top ways we are doing this is through becoming a zero food waste company. This means that none of the food we serve gets thrown away. By locally sourcing produce, composting in our kitchens, and donating uneaten food to people who need it through our partnership with Copia, we are able to eliminate food waste and benefit the environment!

Wondering how you can do this too? Food waste is totally avoidable and there are many ways that you can eliminate food waste in your own home! Here are 5 ways you can become zero food waste!

1. Be a smart shopper!

This may sound obvious, but think before you buy. One of the top sources of food waste is food that goes bad in our kitchens, so don’t buy more than you need. Plan out your meals and buy the exact right amount of food. It may take some work, but the impact is huge. Also, if you have access to locally sourced food, always shop local! Chain grocery stores often have bad practices when it comes to food waste, so support your local farmers market if you have one!

2. Donate!

Have a bunch of fruits and vegetables in your fridge that you don’t have time to eat? Is there a loaf of bread in your pantry that you’ve only eaten a slice of and you’re worried it will go bad soon? Donate it! You can take the food directly to your local food pantry, or take it a step further by cooking a meal or making sandwiches and taking it to your local homeless shelter. If you have food you know you won’t eat, you can use it to feed others!

3. Eat your leftovers!  

Never throw your leftover food away after a meal. Whether you’re out at a restaurant or eating dinner at home, if there’s food leftover, save it! You can pack it for lunch the next day or freeze it to eat at a later date. Or get creative! Turn your leftovers into soup or tacos or a casserole. The possibilities are endless.

4. Understand expiration dates!

You’ve most likely seen the “best by” and “sell by” dates on your various foods, but you probably didn’t know that the US government doesn’t regulate these terms. In fact, food producers are often the ones who determine the date they think a product is most likely to spoil by. The truth is, most food that has just passed its expiration date is still safe to eat.

“Sell by” is the term that lets retailers know when they should have the food off their shelves by. “Best by” is the suggested date that the food should be consumed by. Neither of these dates necessarily means the food has gone bad.

While many of these labels are ambiguous, “use by” is the best one to follow. This term means that the food may not be at its best quality past the listed date. Keeping this in mind, use your best judgement and do your research, so you can avoid throwing away perfectly good food.

5. Compost!

You may think composting is just for people with gardens, but composting is for everyone! If you have a yard, find a space that works for composting and see your plants and grass grow better than ever.

If you live in a city, you may think that composting isn’t possible, but it is! An easy way to compost if you live in an urban location is to store food scraps in a paper bag in your freezer. Once it’s full, you can donate it to your local community garden or composting center. Most cities have them! Here are a few examples of things you can compost: fruit skin, coffee grounds, eggshells, and even things like newspaper and cardboard!

These are just a few of the many ways you can avoid food waste in your own life. We hope you’ll join with Sifted in our commitment to eliminate food waste and make a positive impact on the world that we live in.