You wouldn’t throw dollar bills into the trash can or down the garbage disposal, would you? Of course not—unless you’re wasting food. You’ll save money and help preserve the environment by not discarding uneaten groceries for any reason. Avoid wasting money and food with these tips:
Plan your menu. Before you go shopping, decide exactly what meals you’re going to make for the coming week, and buy only what you need. Stick to your list, and avoid impulse purchases.
Check your fridge. Make sure your refrigerator and freezer doors close tightly, and that the seals are secure. Food won’t go bad as quickly if your fridge is in good working order.
Rotate. Don’t shove older items toward the back of your refrigerator or pantry, where they’ll age until they’re inedible. Place newer products in the rear and bring older provisions forward.
Freeze your food. Don’t let leftovers sit around until decay sets in. Freeze them in plastic bags or single-serving containers to consume later. Keep an inventory list, especially if you have a separate deep freezer, so you know what’s in there and how long you’ve had it.
Donate to food banks. Research local community services that provide meals to the poor and homeless. They’re always looking for non-perishable items that would otherwise be thrown away.
Buy less. Don’t cram your refrigerator and cupboard so full that you can’t find anything. Limit yourself to the necessities, and you’ll be less likely to forget items that you bought months ago.
Don’t panic over expiration dates. The “sell-by” date found on many cartons doesn’t mean that contents turn instantly lethal at 12:01 a.m. the next day. It’s simply the date on which retailers are required to stop displaying the product on the shelf. The food is safe for at least a few days after that. In general, as long as it looks and smells normal, it’s safe to eat.