The King County Solid Waste Division offers practical tips on preventing food waste and the costs associated with it as part of the “Food: Too Good to Waste” campaign. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found 83 percent of Hispanics/Latinos report they are already taking active measures in their everyday lives to reduce food waste, which saves money and helps protect the environment.
The King County Solid Waste Division values these efforts and is helping Hispanic families continue minimizing food waste with new tips, ranging from smarter grocery shopping to proper food storage. “Whether it’s extending the life of stale bread, limp carrots, or ripe bananas, many Hispanic families are finding ways to incorporate these ingredients into their meals and avoid food waste,” said Andy Smith, King County Recycling and Environmental Services Manager. “Small changes such as these can have a big impact on our budgets and our environment.”
The “Food: Too Good to Waste” campaign offers the following tips to help families better store common food items, extend their shelf life, and get the most out of their groceries.
Keeping items fresh
• Store bananas away from other produce because they cause other food to spoil more quickly.
• Store leftover cilantro upright in a glass of water and put a plastic bag over the top.
• Refrigerate tomatillos inside a paper bag to help absorb moisture from the husk.
• Stale bread can be saved by running it under water and baking it in the oven.
Understanding food labels
• “Sell-by Date” tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You can still store it at home for some time beyond that date if you follow safe storage procedures.
• “Best if Used by Date” is not a purchase or safety date. It is a date recommended for the best flavor or quality.
• “Use-by Date” is the last date recommended by the product manufacturer for the use of the product while at peak quality.
• “Closed or Coded Date” are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer.
Food is typically wasted at home due to overbuying, improper food storage, tossing leftovers, or cooking or serving too much.
By adopting simple waste prevention tactics, families can save on their grocery bills while helping protect the environment, because food waste in the landfill produces methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. In King County, overall greenhouse gas emissions resulting from food consumption are second only to the emissions from personal transportation. “Food: Too Good to Waste” is part of a growing movement to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste on its journey from farm to plate. This campaign is one of the many waste prevention programs and services offered by the King County Solid Waste Division.