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County campaign looks to reduce food waste
Food is expensive and valuable, yet Americans throw away 25 percent of the food they purchase – adding up to more than $1,600 a year per household. In an effort to reduce food waste, the King County Solid Waste Division has launched the Food: Too good to waste education campaign.
“‘Waste not, want not’ is a familiar phrase, and I’m pleased that this new awareness campaign will focus on that wise mantra to save space in our landfill, and dollars in consumers’ wallets,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
The new campaign includes an online video series featuring PCC Natural Market’s chef Jackie Freeman, who shows three families the path to preventing food waste by making small changes in how they shop, prepare and store food. Watch the videos and learn more about preventing food waste at http://www.recyclefood.com.
King County hopes to raise awareness of the significant financial and environmental impacts of wasted food, which makes up the greatest percentage of what is dumped at the County’s Cedar Hills Regional Landfill. And while wasted food can be composted along with food scraps and yard waste, it’s best not to waste food in the first place.
The Food: Too good to waste campaign joins a growing national and international movement to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste on its journey from farm to plate.
At the household level, food is wasted because of overbuying, improper food storage, tossing leftovers or cooking or serving too much. To illustrate tips for wasting less food at home, King County recruited three local families to take part in the campaign online video series.
“Working with Chef Jackie, we learned a lot about how to reduce food waste, such as tricks for dealing with leftovers that makes them more appetizing and even fun to deal with,” said Jennifer Sawade, a member of one of the three families participating in the online video series. “We have now embraced leftover cooking, mindful grocery shopping and better refrigerator organization.”
The Food: Too good to waste program was designed through a collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency, King County and more than 25 other state, city and county government partners. King County piloted the campaign last year with a local elementary school, and plans to make this a multi-year public education effort.
Here are some tips from the Food: Too good to waste video series:
Before making your list each week, shop your kitchen first to see what you already have on hand to figure out how many meals you and your family members will eat at home. Include quantities next to each item on your list so you buy only what you need. Stick to your list and shop on a full stomach to avoid impulse buys.
Prep now, eat later
When you get home from the store, wash, dry, chop, dice, slice and place your fresh food items in clear storage containers for snacks and easy cooking. You can also batch cook food items or entire meals ahead of time that can be stored in the fridge or freezer, saving the amount of time you spend preparing food each week.
Keep fruits and vegetables fresh
Learn which fruits and vegetables stay fresh longer inside or outside the fridge. Many fruits give off natural gases that hasten the spoilage of nearby produce. Store fruits like bananas, apples and tomatoes by themselves and store fruits and vegetables in different bins.
Eat what you buy
Move food that’s likely to spoil soon to the front of the shelf or a designated “eat now” area in your fridge or pantry each week. Casseroles, frittatas, soups and smoothies are great ways to use leftovers.
-from a press release