Reduce Food Waste in 2022

— Written By and last updated by
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

Food being scraped from a plate into the garbageWith the start of a new year, many of us make resolutions or set goals to try and change behaviors or our lifestyle. This year I have been thinking a lot about food waste and want to incorporate ways to decrease the food that I end up throwing out due to poor planning on my part.

Here are some tips that I have come across for helping to reduce the waste that I create.

  1. First, it is important to understand when food is spoiled and should be thrown away. Most dates on foods are just date when the food is at its best quality. Spoiled foods will develop an off odor, flavor, or texture due to naturally occurring spoilage bacteria.
  2. Use your oldest foods first, First In First Out, (FIFO) used by most restaurants and food establishments, is also a good rule for home foods. This helps you avoid having foods reach that spoiled stage or lower quality stage.
  3. Plan to buy just what you need to use. According to the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, the average US household wastes 31.9% of the food its members obtain. You won’t waste it if you don’t buy it. You can buy to store but don’t over buy past when you will usually use items. If this happens, you can donate foods that are getting closer to their best-by dates if you want.
  4. Freeze, dehydrate, or preserve food approaching date labels – If you have purchased it and still haven’t eaten it, look for ways to use it. Most fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat products can easily be preserved at home by freezing. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has recipes for freezing for highest quality and safety.
  5. Use even the small leftovers. A smart way to use up leftover vegetables is to make a vegetable soup container in the freezer. The small portions of leftover green beans, corn, or other vegetables can be added and used later in a soup.
  6. Use vegetable scraps to make a soup stock. Cornell University has a great blog on Making Vegetable Stock.
  7. Know what you have at home. Do a weekly assessment of what you have on hand and plan your meals according to what is needed to be use. There are many online menu planners or just google recipes that include some of the items you have on hand that you need to use.

These are just some ways to try and reduce our food waste. It does really come down to planning and keeping in mind what we have on hand when we plan meals. Happy New Year and may this year bring better planning and less wasted food for you and our community.