Consumer Reports shares easy ways to reduce food waste while saving money

Cutting back on food waste could save a family of four about $1,500 a year

Every year, we throw away tons of food waste, much of it ending up in landfills. Believe it or not, there’s more food in landfills than anything else, which produces the greenhouse gas methane. We can all do our part, starting right at home.

Consumer Reports reveals some easy ways to reduce food waste with a bonus -- you’ll save money, too.

Cutting back on food waste could save a family of four about $1,500 a year.

“If you’re throwing out a lot, you might be buying too much food. Shopping with a list can keep you focused on what you’ll actually use,” said Amy Keating, Consumer Reports nutritionist.

To avoid finding squishy veggies in the back of the fridge bins, plan to use up fresh fruits and vegetables in the order they go bad - for instance, eat soft fruits and vegetables, like leafy greens and berries before hardier ones, like brussels sprouts or carrots.

Freezing extra batches of chili or leftovers is a great way to cut back waste, but only if you get around to eating them. Mark leftovers with the date you froze them, and include them in your meal plan.

“Try to use up everything. Give your wraps, soups and burritos a nutritional boost with leftover veggies. And ripe fruits that are not their prettiest make delicious smoothies while adding fiber,” Keating said.

You can also consider buying frozen produce. It’s just as nutritious a choice as fresh, and you can take out only what you need and keep the rest frozen.

Keep your dry goods in clear, airtight packaging. Not only will they be less susceptible to dampness and mold, but you’re more likely to use up what you can actually see.

Lastly, if your produce has gotten gross enough to toss, compost it instead. It will turn into nutrient-rich soil to help grow your own produce.

About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.