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Packaging and Food Waste Are In Our Control

Food packaging and food waste are two things that may seem insignificant when they happen in your kitchen, but there is so much of it that when you consider the almost 8 billion people on the planet, it turns out to be a lot.

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How to reduce food waste

First and foremost, pay attention to your food habits. 

  • Do you often prepare more than you will eat and not eat leftovers you put in your frig? 
  • Do you carry a container or reusable food storage baggie when you eat out so you can bring home any leftovers and eat them later?

Paying attention and eating our leftovers is a big step, but when we have to throw food out it’s best to look for ways to recycle it.

  • Kitchen composting is easy. You can get a kitchen compost bucket to put under your sink or on your counter. There are many types you can find online or at your local home improvement store.
  • A yard compost system can be used to fertilize your garden and you can empty your kitchen compost into it. Check online for composting instructions or they should come with the composting bin if you buy one. You can also find online instructions on how to make your own.
  • Many cities offer curbside composting, which includes food. Check the website of your local pick-up service or municipality. If they provide a curbside yard waste bin they likely accept food waste in it.

If you don’t have compost in your yard to empty your kitchen compost into, use a paper bag that you drop in your curbside green waste bin for pick-up.

How to minimize waste from food packaging and storage

It’s hard to avoid packaging that we get our food in, but there are ways to reduce it and not add to the problem.

  • Reusable food storage zip bags – these silicone bags work the same as disposable plastic bags and they can go in the dishwasher for easy reuse. You save money when you don’t buy disposable, and you’ll reduce plastic waste. Reusable food storage is a great way to make lunches zero-waste and have waste-free storage in your home. Here are a few you can buy online.
    • Russbe offers reusable bags and various types of food storage containers
    • Grove Collaborative sells reusable bags in a variety of sizes, as well as food storage containers.
    • Stasher Bag offers both reusable bags and containers
    • Vejibags from Food52 are a great way to store produce and keep it fresh while eliminating the waste if you buy it unpackaged or from your local farmer’s market.
  • Buying in bulk and using your own bag or container when you do
  • Use containers rather than zip-close baggies. Glass or plastic sealable food containers are easy to use and won’t get lost in the refrigerator so you are more likely to eat the leftovers
    • If you have plastic zip-close baggies already, wash and reuse them over and over until they are no longer usable. Many brands of food storage bags are made from a stronger soft plastic that you can get a lot of life out of.

Check out this US EPA resource on ways to reduce waste of food and its packaging for restaurants and food services. It has helpful tips you can use at home, too.

Why It’s Important

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 30 – 40% of the food supply in the US is wasted. The saddest part of this is that 1 in 5 children in America goes without enough food to eat every day. While it’s hard to think that our efforts to reduce food waste can help feed babies in another country, we can’t deny that our habits can contribute to food scarcity in our own backyards. There are people going hungry in every community around the world.

Food waste also increases our carbon footprint. According to the UN Environment Programme reducing food waste could decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 8 – 10%.

According to the EPA, food packaging and containers make up over 28% of municipal solid waste in the US alone. So if you’re serious about finding ways to reduce your impact on the planet, especially from waste, focus on reducing food packaging as a way to do that.


Don’t forget Earth Hour is next Saturday, March 26th at 8:30 pm your local time – make plans now for what you will do while your lights are out, like buy some candles. 

Plan what you will do when you turn off the tv and lights. Play board games, read a book or connect with nature and your community. Earth has suggestions on things to do and how to participate and provides info on Earth Hour events around the globe.

With Much Gratitude

That’s it for this week. I hope this helped. Please drop me a line anytime if you have questions or comments. I love hearing from you.

If you filled out my recycling survey and included a question, I will likely respond soon (if I haven’t already). There have been a lot of good questions and I want to give each my attention. I also may include them in future posts. I will also be sharing the survey results in the future, so stick with me to learn how the survey does. 

Along with a number of very hard-working people, I’m waging an all-out war. A fight for our planet. Please join me and consider supporting my efforts. I do not get paid to write this blog, none of the products I recommend sponsor me, so any support you can send my way would help, even just a few bucks.

Thank you for reading these tips and subscribing. Pat yourself on the back for doing your part. Remember, every little bit helps. Don’t fuss if you aren’t always able to do this stuff, keep trying, and don’t give up. It can take 21 days to build a habit or more.

You got this!

All my best, 


jen.thilman (at)

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