How to Reduce Personal Food Waste — and Feed the Hungry

How to Reduce Personal Food Waste — and Feed the Hungry

Each American wastes about one pound of food each day — enough to feed 2 billion people each year, according to the Department of Agriculture. When food waste accounts for 19 percent of landfills yet over 41 million Americans struggle with hunger, something doesn’t add up. Reducing food waste has become a necessity not only for our environment but also for our hungry citizens.

At Loaves & Fishes, we fight food waste by rescuing food from donors, like grocery stores or restaurants, and delivering it to those in need, via shelters or community centers.  But it takes all of us working together to make a significant dent in our food waste problem — and that starts at home. Read on for ways you can personally help to reduce food waste in your own life.

1. Shop more often

It may sound counterintuitive, but a study conducted at the University of Arizona found, “The problem [with food waste] is that people are not shopping frequently enough.” It seems that shopping several weeks in advance and buying in bulk actually contributes to the problem of food waste because the plans people make rarely match the realities of life, no matter how thorough and disciplined they are. Instead of stocking up, employ the intention to shop more and buy less by visiting the grocery store every two or three days.

2. Compost food scraps

No matter how well-planned your meals, scraps are inevitable. Fortunately, composting is an environmentally friendly way you can both dispose of and reuse food scraps. If you’re new to composting, check out the guide to home composting from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Greenville residents can also use a valet compost service such as Compost House.

3. Donate extra food

Almost any extra food you have can be donated to those in need. Canned goods or non-perishable items can be donated directly to your local food bank or pantry. If you have leftover prepared food (from a catered or corporate event, for example) or fresh produce from your garden, contact us. If your donation can feed at least 25 people, we’ll come pick it up and deliver it to our partner agencies at no charge.

Being more mindful about our personal habits can help reduce food waste in our own lives and make a huge difference in the Greenville community. We can all work together to make a difference in fighting food waste and hunger at the same time.

Interested in leaving a smaller carbon footprint? Check out our guide to a zero-waste Fourth of July that gives helpful tips for hosting events at any time of year.