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Forty percent of food in the United States goes uneaten.
It’s a statistic we’ve talked about before, multiple times in fact, but one that bears repeating because the number is so staggering. We need to not just keep talking about it, we need to change it. Especially because we, as consumers, are the biggest part of the problem—we’re throwing away more food than restaurants, grocery stores, or any other part of the supply chain.
Before you get too discouraged, there are promising programs designed to reduce food waste, some already in place, and one currently in progress:
- Last fall, both the Obama Administration and the U.N. each set goals to reduce food waste by half by 2030.
- Last month, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Ad Council launched a nationwide “Save the Food” public service campaign designed to, you guessed it, combat consumer food waste. (If you haven’t yet seen it, you can do so here. Tell us your favorite part in the comments; we’re smitten with the strawberry top fluttering in the breeze.)
- Last week, a federal bill was introduced aimed at making expiration date labeling on food less confusing. This could have a huge impact, as the NRDC explains:
Studies show that up to 90 percent of Americans are misinterpreting date labels and throwing food away prematurely, under the misconception that it’s necessary to protect their families’ health.
And at home, we can all commit to doing a better job of keeping track of what fresh items we have on hand and using tools like this chart to help us figure out which types of produce to use up first. We can also try to make use of everything we can, from bones and brine to pits and peels.
Here are 125 recipes to help us all do a better job of not scrapping so many scraps:
Bones and Fat
Brine—Pickle, Olive, and Otherwise
Peels and Skins
Stems and Stalks
Other Odds and Ends
Do you have a favorite way to use an overlooked kitchen scrap (anything from commonly discarded produce parts to stale bread to bones and more)? Tell us about it in the comments: We want to know how you're turning what would otherwise be trash into a dish to treasure!