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Shop to Reduce Food Waste

A friend recently posted the following words of wisdom on her Facebook page: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!" Definitely words to live by and applicable in just about every corner of life! Today, it resonates with me as I stand in my kitchen, thinking about food waste.

I read in a recent article by Mary Mazzoni at that the U.S. generates more than 34 million tons of food waste each year, according to the EPA. Composting scraps and leftovers is, of course, a good way to stop some things from heading off to sit in a landfill until the end of time (or close enough!), but even better is tackling food waste at its source.

Mazzoni suggests starting at the grocery store by being realistic about the amount of food you buy. "If you live alone or have a small family," she says, "stick to a limited number of perishables each week. If you have a busy work schedule, don't shop as if you'll be making everything from scratch. Buying only what you can use in the near future will save you the hassle of cooking, freezing or preserving extra food before it spoils."

I am so guilty of this! Every now and then, usually when I've just gotten a new issue of Cuisine at Home, I get "new recipe fever" and I head off to the grocery store to stock up on all the ingredients I'm going to need to make those new dishes I just have to try! Too often, a few days will go by and I'll suddenly realize that I only have one evening to make a meal at home all week and next week doesn't look any better. Oops. Inevitably, one, or even a few, of my ingredients end up going bad before I get to them.

Or, even if I do make my fantastic feed, if I bought too much of an ingredient I don't normally use I'll say to myself, "I need to find something to use the rest of that in..." and place it in the fridge. Then, life happens, the rest of the busy week flies by and that little container gets pushed farther and farther to the back of the fridge until someday it gets pulled back out only to be tossed, with a groan of frustration (directed at myself), into the compost bin.

If I am more realistic with my shopping, as Mary Mazzoni advises, I can avoid a lot of that unnecessary food waste.

To simple, green living,

Carrie Brusven

"You must be the change you hope to see in the world." -Gandhi

Carrie Brusven is an Independent Green Irene Eco-Consultant based out of Moorhead, MN and her website can be found at

Carrie offers Green Home Makeovers and "Go Green" Workshops/Parties to help you on your own path to greener living. Contact Carrie to schedule a makeover for your home: