LOUISBURG, N.C. — In honor of Earth Day which was celebrated on April 22nd, I would like to share some ways that you can have a positive impact on environmental issues. Did you know that every year, about 40% of the food in the U.S. goes to waste. Hard to believe right? Especially when so many people in our country face food insecurity. Below are tips and habits that can help promote a happy, healthy planet.
Reduce food waste: One of the easiest and best ways to reduce food waste is to not create it in the first place! Planning meals, properly storing, and composting are all easy ways you can reduce your food waste. The average U.S. household wastes 31.9% of their food. Food waste creates methane emissions in landfills, contributes to our carbon footprint, and is just one way our diets are related to environmental outcomes. Reducing your food waste helps the planet and can also help your wallet. The average family of 4 throws away $1,365 to $2,275 annually on food alone.
Plan ahead: Make a menu for the week and only buy what you need at the grocery store, this saves you money and prevents you from having to throw away excess food. Learn more: Reducing Wasted Food At Home >>
Storage: Fruits and vegetables usually keep for about a week in your refrigerator, but different foods will stay fresh for different amounts of time, so try checking the FoodKeeper app to make sure you are getting the most out of your foods! If you think you aren’t going to use a food item within the week, try freezing it, that way it will stay good and you can use it later!
Compost: Instead of sending food scraps to the landfill, try composting. This creates nutritious soil for food to grow in! Learn more Home & Backyard Composting >> . During the month of May you can register to purchase a compost bin for 50% off. If you are interested in purchasing a discounted compost bin, visit: Discounted Compost Bin Program >>
Meatless Mondays: Highlight plant-based proteins and reduce meat consumption one day a week. Eating meatless for just one day per week can save the lives of up to 29 animals, reduces your carbon footprint, and helps you to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet. These days are an opportunity to incorporate more vegetables in your diet and can even save you money since vegetarian proteins are usually less expensive.
–Dominque Simon, Franklin County Extension