Prevent Food Waste

Food waste can be a huge issue for many families and consumers. As a country, we throw away an estimated 40 percent of all the food produced, or up to 160 billion pounds each year. The cost of that waste approaches approximately $218 billion.

In preventing food waste, we can save money (food dollars), reduce hunger, set an example for future generations about waste prevention, and help to protect our environment.

Food waste can be prevented with a few small steps. Here are 6 suggestions:

  1. Reduce Food Waste Today: Leftovers

Leftovers are a great way to use food in your refrigerator that otherwise would go to waste. Regularly check to see what food is left over and needs to be used up. Try to plan one meal per week that involves using leftovers. Soups, stews, and casseroles may be good options.

  1. Reduce Food Waste Today: Chill

Don’t leave perishable foods out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. This is known as the two-hour rule.  Refrigerate leftovers after 2 hours to keep them safe to eat. Keep food out of the danger zone to prevent a possible foodborne illness. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.

  1. Reduce Food Waste Today: Freeze

If you prepare too much food, freeze it for another meal, at another time. Have a plan for leftovers. Don’t let them stay in the refrigerator until they go bad and need to be tossed out on garbage day. Freezing is a great way to store and preserve most foods to keep them safe until ready to eat.


  1. Reduce Food Waste Today: Use a shopping list

Shop from a written shopping list, you create before you go to the grocery store.  Make sure the shopping list matches recipes you plan to make and meals you plan to serve. Stick to your list and avoid impulse purchases. Unplanned purchases can throw off your budget and may lead to food waste.

  1. Reduce Food Waste Today: Buy only what you need

Be careful in buying food items in bulk, unless you have a definite plan to use them before they expire or go bad.  Large quantities of food may go bad before you use them up.  Share bulk items with a relative, friend and/or neighbor. Do not buy what you will not eat just because it is on sale. Don’t waste food and don’t waste your food dollars.


  1. Reduce Food Waste Today: Use up what you have

Check your refrigerator often to see what you have on hand and what needs to be used. Keep food items visible and not hidden from view. Foods first put inside the refrigerator, should be the first to be eaten or used. Rotate and inventory items regularly. Check use-by and expiration dates to eat foods at their best flavor and quality. Eat or freeze items before you need to throw them away.

This blog was written to heighten awareness of food waste and how to prevent it. Act now.

Prevent food waste today!




UF/IFAS Extension is an equal opportunity institution and employer.


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Posted: March 28, 2022

Category: UF/IFAS Extension, , Work & Life
Tags: Buying Food In Bulk, Chill Food, Chill Food Properly, Create A Shopping List, Don't Over Buy, Don't Waste Food, Food, Food Is Our Middle Name, Food Protection, Food Safety And Quality, Food Safety Matters, Food Waste, Food Waste Can Be Prevented, Food Waste Prevention, Food Waste Reduction Suggestions, Freezing, Garbage, Ideas To Prevent Food Waste, Leftovers, Prevent Food Waste, Safe To Eat, Save Food Dollars, Save Money, Use A Shopping List, Use Up Leftovers

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