HomeArticlesHow to reduce your food waste?

Wal-Mart and Sam's Club food waste dump in Cedar Rapids and Marion, Iowa, USA, 2011. Source: Liz Martin/SourceMedia Group News.

Anyone who thinks about how to reduce the negative impact on the environment will certainly look into his trash can and see that we, people, consume a lot irrationally and throw away a lot, including food .

The topic of food and food waste deserves a lot of attention because food is our closest relationship with the environment. In the world, about 45% of food is wasted, for rich countries food is produced 50-100% more than the required level, and the number of hungry, according to various estimates, reaches 800-1000 million people - these are short statistics that clearly indicate the need to improve these relations.

If everyone pays more attention to what they eat, how they buy food, what they store in, how they cook and what they throw away, there will be much less environmental problems. What steps should you take to reduce your food waste?

1. Eat Fresh, Homemade Foods

Cook yourself, eat a balanced diet, bring lunch or snacks from home and do not buy frozen food, convenience foods and canned food. Of course, at first it will seem difficult, but once you stop buying the above, you will be surprised at how much your garbage will be reduced, most of which is single-use plastic containers. For frozen foods, look for fresh alternatives, and for canned and prepared foods, look for homemade recipes. An additional plus is that you will definitely be sure of its composition and quality.

Always give preference to local and seasonal products, and if possible, grow your own greens, vegetables, fruits and berries. Also make stocks: dry, salt, freeze. It will take time and effort, but believe me, you will be satisfied with the result and save money.

Try to pack all products in personal reusable containers instead of single-use plastic bags or boxes. It is better to take fruits and vegetables unpeeled and uncut, cook in advance at home in the form you need. All other snacks, such as cookies, waffles, sweets, chips and other “joys”, can also be prepared by yourself - it will be much healthier and more environmentally friendly.

2. Buy products according to a pre-prepared list.

Thanks to the efforts of marketers, often there are more products in the basket than we planned to buy. By succumbing to discounts and promotions such as "two for the price of one", buying spontaneously or buying too much, we bring into the house more than we can eat. As a result, these products turn out to be unclaimed, we don’t know what and how to cook from them, we don’t have time to use them, they lie until the expiration date or loss of appearance, and then they are thrown away.

The best way to not forget anything, avoid spontaneous spending and not bring home unnecessary things is to clearly follow a pre-prepared shopping list, as well as a sample menu for the week. Buy fresh and perishable products exactly as much as you need, and those that are stored for a long time (flour, cereals, butter ...), take for future use in large packages. Do market research - look for the best, high-quality, inexpensive.

You can use the mobile app on your phone, write by hand on paper, or keep a list in your head. And if you want to buy something else in the store on top of the list, look at the packaging, study the composition and ask yourself what you will do with it later.

3. Learn to store food wisely

It's simple: learn how to properly store different products, and you will stop throwing away food because it has gone bad, which means buying new products. You can find tips on how to keep fresh longer and avoid various troubles such as mold and insects on the net, cookbooks or ask your parents or acquaintances - they will gladly share their experience. Each product has features of its storage, ripening and withering.

You can learn about many of these features from our article " How to Store Food Properly ".

4. Don't cook more than you need

Many people cook for the future, often getting more food than they manage or don't want to eat. As a result, a lot of food waste is generated and you go to the store for new products faster. The problem can be solved by inviting friends to dinner, treating colleagues or processing leftovers into a new dish, or simply taking into account the consumption of food per serving. If time and imagination allow, it is better to cook fresh food each time, as it is much tastier and healthier.

If you have a lot of food left, find somewhere you can donate it. If it is in good condition, it can be beggars or orphanages; if it has already deteriorated, it can be pig farms.

Both in catering establishments and for meals at home, always take exactly as much food as you are able to eat. If you still have something left, put it off until the next meal, and if you didn’t finish a portion at a restaurant, don’t be shy to ask for a wrap to go - otherwise this food will go to the landfill.

Learn to consume food completely and make as many dishes out of them as possible. For example, a fruit compote mixture can be used for cooking compote, then boiled fruits (apples, pears, raisins, apricots, etc.) can be eaten, and apricot (dried apricot) seeds can be used instead of nuts.

5. Recycle food waste

Think twice before throwing something out of your kitchen cabinet or refrigerator. Make new dishes from the remnants of ready-made dishes: fry yesterday's buckwheat with vegetables, add boiled rice to the salad, make pancakes from porridge. Have time to reanimate products that have lost their original appearance in time: peel fruits and greens, chop and freeze, add sour milk to pancake dough, make toast from stale bread ... - this list is endless.

Cleanings, peels and other parts of plants, tea leaves and leftover food that accumulate in the sink after washing dishes - compost. In the warm season, take them to the dacha, bury them in the nearest front garden or process them in a vermicomposter, which you can buy and put, for example, on the balcony. In summer, for owners of summer cottages, this issue is easily solved by the presence of a compost pit. If there is no space for a compost pit, you can store leftover food in the freezer (which uses less energy when full) and periodically throw it into the nearest ravine. In winter, you can dry the peel of vegetables and fruits on a battery, and then periodically take them out again to a place where these residues can be safely buried.

Don't be afraid to bury food leftovers. We must give back to nature what we have taken from it, and composting is the best way to return useful substances to the natural cycle. In a general landfill, food products rot poorly due to the lack of air and heat, and also begin to release hazardous substances when combined with other waste.


Buy smart, cook delicious, waste less ” is a slogan from J. Oliver’s Saving With Jamie that can make a big difference in the food chain and the environment . Reduce your food waste, shop responsibly, cook well and have fun – these are affordable actions that everyone can do on their way to a harmonious life on the planet!


The article was written by our friend Irina Kozlovskikh.

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  1. The article is certainly useful, but I want something more personalized or something ... For example, how the authors of the site themselves recycle their food waste, especially if they are city dwellers and there is no way to go out into the yard and put the cleaning in the compost heap. I myself am not indifferent to the topic of waste separation, but I just ran into the problem of having high-quality educational articles about the same composting at home. I live in the city and although my relatives have their own gardens, I personally don’t have the opportunity to go there just a little, because they are located 15-20 km from the city, and not in the yard near the house. In addition, in spring / autumn / winter, you also need to collect waste, and the question arises of how to store the same vegetable peels so that the latter do not become moldy.

    1. Hello! Thank you for your interest, as well as good and correct questions!

      The authors of the site live in a house in nature in constant warm climatic conditions, so they have the opportunity to throw organic waste into a hole dug near the house. At work, where we also have a lot of food leftovers, we collect organic in a box, and then we take it to a certain point in the forest, where everything quickly and naturally decomposes.

      For winter storage, leftovers can be frozen, but this, of course, will require large refrigeration tanks. In the Western market, special household containers for food waste are becoming popular - we looked closely, but in practice we have not yet had experience with them. We know the example of a city dweller (in Russia) who threw her organics into a ravine near her house (an example is given in the article). I hope that Irina (the author of the article) will give you additional comments on the issues raised.

    2. Olga, thank you for your comment and question. Now in winter, we dry all plant organic matter on a battery (we put it on a baking sheet or in an enameled dish), if necessary, it can be mixed during drying, but as a rule, everything dries anyway. There is no smell, well, only onions. We put the dried leftovers in a bag and take it out to the balcony, in the spring all this will go to our beds. I used to live in a large city, then in the spring I simply took everything dried and collected into a ravine. The volumes are not large at all - one Ashanov bag for the entire heating season. In the warm season, it was not possible to dry, we have a sealed can, we put it in it and brought it into the ground on time. Again, when there was no access to the garden, but there was a large freezer, I froze, and, having accumulated the volume, took it to the same ravine.

    3. Olga, if you are seriously puzzled by the question, then you can find technical equipment to solve this problem. There are options - to purchase a special compost bucket (as an example, see this topic: https://vk.com/topic-5467841_24355250 ), or a more powerful device - a food waste chopper that integrates into your sink: https://market. yandex.ru/catalog–izmelchiteli-pishchevykh-otkhodov/54938/list?deliveryincluded=0&onstock=1 . I think there are many more tools in the city, you need to look for what is convenient for you 🙂

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