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Small steps to reduce food waste

a refrigerator shelf

In this unprecedented and uncertain time, top of mind for all of us is the health, safety, security, and well-being of our families, employees, supporters, partners, and the community at large.

We've updated these food tips related to our work on food waste and loss that we hope will help a little in these difficult times.

We usually talk about how wasting food wastes environmental resources like energy, water, and land and by avoiding food waste, we can try to get food to more people globally without increasing the environmental impacts of producing it. But, right now, reducing waste is even more important and we can look at how to do that in our own kitchens.

Here are some tips that might help:

  • Push the limit of your ingredients. Are some of your produce wilting in the crisper? You can reinvigorate some veggies, like lettuce, with a quick ice water bath. Are bananas going brown? Peel them and toss them in a container in the freezer to use later for baked goods or smoothies. Overcooked leftovers, wilted, or ugly produce are all prime ingredients for hearty soups and stews.
  • Trust your senses on 'best before.' Most food is safe to eat a lot longer than we think—for fresh and canned goods. Most expiration dates have nothing to do with safety and, depending on the kind of item, many foods are still safe to eat days, weeks, or months after confusing "best by," "sell by," and "best before" labels. Most of the time, trust your senses to know when food has gone bad or you can search the FoodKeeper App to learn more about food freshness and storage options.
  • Ready, set, freeze! You can freeze almost anything—eggs, meats, produce, sauces—whether you just brought it home, or already cooked it. Keep containers tight and leave a little room for liquids. Freeze in portions for easy access, and date and label so you don't forget what's what. While it's a bit of extra work upfront, freezing will save you loads of cooking, prep, and even shopping time later down the line. And you'll save money if you use everything you buy.
  • Share if you can. We've seen how everyone is coming together to make a difference. Of course, we should only buy what we need. But we can also get creative and share recipes with friends, family, and strangers to make sure we don't waste an ounce while also keeping us connected in times of isolation. And if you have extra food, reach out to others who might not or donate to a food bank. We can take care of those around us.
  • Learn about food's connection to nature. Looking for some learning activities to do with the kids? How about learning about the connections between different foods and species and how you can shop smarter and eat more sustainably to help protect them. You can find resources on this and other fun activities through WWF's Wild Classroom.