Source Reduction

Though recycling is preferable to throwing things in the trash, when possible waste can best be reduced at the source by reducing unnecessary consumption. It is estimated that 30% of food is wasted. This food results in environmental damage during production and transport which can be eliminated through a variety of measures. The same is true of extraneous packaging which also results in environmental damage during production and transport and also utilizes precious resources such as water and minerals.

Reducing Food Waste

Many people are confused by the dates placed on food and assume that beyond these dates, food should be discarded. In most cases these food products remain nutritious. Click on the link for detailed information on food safety.

A second strategy is to avoid serving more food than you expect to be consumed. 

Reducing Packaging

Single use packaging can often be eliminated, sometimes with an additional benefit of cost savings.

  • Coffee made from K-cups in a typical household can result in 500-1500 plastic cups placed in the trash each year and is also expensive. Using brewed coffee instead eliminates this packaging, the coffee grinds are compostable (or can be spread in the garden) and also saves money.
  • Many food products are available in reusable containers 
  • Some coffee/drink retailers will fill a reusable container you bring eliminating disposable packaging
  • If you commonly bring home leftovers from a restaurant you might bring your own reusable container
  • Read additional information with the League of Women Voters US Food Waste Guide