Food Waste: Why We Do It and How We Can Stop

Careful Planning is the Key

When I first began studying the art and science of frugality I looked at many lists that claimed to be the top five or ten money wasters. I found that most of the items on the list were mere opinions. But one category stood out as being accurate and useful—the dead waste. These are not spending decisions, but rather mistakes. The parking ticket, the bank fee, and yes-the food we let rot. Almost everyone in the United States does this to one extent or another. Nobody likes it, and everyone finds themselves annoyed and a little guilty and embarrassed when it happens. So why do we do it?

There are several reasons. The first is lack of self-knowledge. A successful food shopping expedition starts at the kitchen table with a pen and paper. If you cook at home, and I know you do because you are a frugalista, you already have some idea how long it takes for you and those who share your food to go through a particular item. If the item is perishable, you can’t buy more than you know you will use before it spoils. If you buy the two gallon milk special when you know that you only use a quart a week, the predictable result will be food waste. If you just can’t pass up the bargain, plan on freezing half immediately if the item freezes well. Also plan on building menus around the food in question, just as you would if you were handling the zucchini glut at summer’s end.

A second form of self-deception is the buying of things you know you hate because you believe them to be healthy. Maybe you “should” eat seaweed, or flax seed, but if you and your companions truly dislike these things they will go bad and end up in the compost. Keep experimenting, and you will find things that are just as healthy as the craze of the week that you DO love.

Another cause of food waste is cooking too much at one time. If you feed four people then two gallons of chili, even

Let's Keep it Empty

your special recipe, is probably too much. You can freeze it, but just make sure that you label it and rotate it back in the very next week. A bucket full of freezer burned mystery goo is sure to end up in the waste bin.

Finally, we waste food because we get lazy and don’t cook it in time, or our plans change and we end up going out when we meant to stay in. Sometimes we say we are lazy when really we are tired. It is good to have a little play in the system. When we are exhausted it is the perfect time to pop out the dish we cooked too much of last week, solving two problems at once. As for the spontaneous change of plans, that is just life. If you leave a couple of blank spots when you plan the menu for the week it will all even out. The food use equation may never be perfect. But if you follow these steps the waste bin will be a lot emptier.

Here are some links that will help you plan. Remember, the use by date reflects optimum quality, not safety. Use your nose and these guides to determine how long you can keep food safely: A thorough review, including spoilage guidelines Safety guidelines for freezer use



158 Responses

  1. Laziness is definitely the culprit for me! I often forget to take fresh fruit to work with me because I slept an extra 5 min in the morning. We have tried to cut our shopping list down to just things we KNOW we will use through out the week. If we have to run out mid week for something it doesn’t bother us because we know it’s needed

    • The most important thing is that it’s realy hard to keep on doing one thing very well, do we?

    • Everyone is different. that is why articles that advise one way to handle the food problem are always wrong. It sounds like the small purchase method works for you.

  2. We are food wasters! My biggest problem is making too much then throwing away the leftovers, but my husband is getting better at making sure it doesn’t go to waste 🙂

  3. I hate seeing food go to waste—it’s such a money waster! It’s just my husband I in our house so we tend to buy less perishable items (b/c we can’t finish it all ourselves)! We also buy things when they are on sale and freeze it immediately (i.e. meats). We also freeze things that we can’t finish all at one time (i.e milk). And finally, we freeze dishes made in bulk (i.e. lasagna), and pull them out on a rainy day or when we’re too lazy to cook! I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have a chest freezer!

    Great advice!

    • My husband and I are in the same boat. We spent the money on a chest freezer and hit up Sam’s Club for meat specials. I cut it up into everything we need (chops, steaks, roasts, etc) and label it all. We need to get better at the bulk recipes though!

      • lol so great to hear that other couples do the same as we do! 😀

        The bulk cooking was something that both our families did, so I guessed we picked up that habit from them!

      • Keep reading. I will continue to post more about frugal food with recipes.

    • A freezer is a basic necessity for most frugal shoppers. It allows you to use planned leftovers. Cooking for just two is actually harder than for four or more.

  4. wasting of food also happens here in Cairo during the fasting period lots is bought not all is used and the rest is disposed off, and all the time i am thinking, what about those helpless children who cannot find food to eat in drought stricken areas.

    • A thought provoking read. Maybe instead of curbing our spending and buying, it’s our insatiable GREED that needs to be curbed. We want and want unthinkingly…and the acquisition of it all is so easy! Even fasting no longer develops the consciousness of “not having”. Thanks for your post, Frugal, and reflecting on the various wasters…

  5. This is great. I am guilty of throwing unused items away because my good intentions got thwarted by busy schedules, etc.

  6. […] When I first began studying the art and science of frugality I looked at many lists that claimed to be the top five or ten money wasters. I found that most of the items on the list were mere opinions. But one category stood out as being accurate and useful—the dead waste. These are not spending decisions, but rather mistakes. The parking ti … Read More […]

  7. We waste it because we can. How we can stop? Thats fairly easy actually. Realize that third world countries actually have something to teach western countries.

    The main difference I see between the two – refrigeration. You have a picture of one up there. With refrigeration, you can buy all you want, put it in there, forget about it, and eat as you like.

    Without that, you buy what you need for that day, that meal, or that time, and thats it. No waste. The food is fresher, usually healthier and in the end cheaper because you’re not throwing anything away, buying too much or paying for electricity for the fridge.

    But, western countries have everything to teach, and nothing to learn, from these poor pathetic third world countries. Too bad. We will waste away…

    Good post,

    • I once had to live for a week with no refrigerator when mine broke. It gave me both a healthy respect for those who live all the time without these modern conveniences and a foreshadowing of what is to come when our unsustainable way of life catches up to us.

  8. Great post! I used to find myself guilty of food waste FAR too often. My husband and I started planning ahead better as you mentioned above and it really seemed to help 🙂

  9. I just wasted a carton of almond milk because I thought it would help me during my mid-afternoon cravings. While I don’t dislike the milk, I didn’t make an honest effort to drink it, either. That wasteful choice still haunts me! Great post, thank you for sharing.

  10. nice post

  11. Great post. In a house of two, I sometimes buy way too much. My wife is good about insisting we eat out of the pantry wipe out our veggies before we shop. We try to freeze a lot and buy fruit with a long shelf life. And I’m always using veggies in broth. One thing I hate, is that vegetables sometimes go bad extremely fast. I carefully dry my spices and leafy greens, because the stores really over water them. And that decreases their life.

  12. elegantly put. we all do it but try not to think about it. thanks for the reminder.

  13. Nice points… I know it always makes me cringe when leftovers go into the garbage, not the fridge.

  14. Maybe we should all live on chocolate 🙂

  15. A couple of things I do all the time:

    I buy apples because they are healthy, but I never eat them all.

    I buy milk by the gallon, and it always spoils before I finish it.

    Good post!

    • Milk can be frozen. My mother used to buy a gallon of milk and divide it into pints and freeze what she wasn’t using. When she needed more she just took another pint out of the freezer. It doesn’t separate or go bad when frozen.

    • If you buy HOOD Milk Ithink it is called Smart CHoice, the expire date is crazy far away…we keep it for months!
      GIve apples to the birds out side..the love them as well as rabbits- then it is not waste!

  16. Your dead on, there are too much wastage of food because people are not being conscious of it. They should also look at the money they are throwing in the garbage each time. Not only wasting food but wasting money.

  17. well said…my mom was watching a show about not wasting food!!!

  18. When I was a kid wasting food was a “sin”. Now wasting food is composting. Composting is good. It is hard to recognize what is a bad way to treat food. All you have to do to replace it is burn a gallon of gas to drive across town to get more.

    • For now that is true-but I will bet that as things get harder economically and the cost of gas continues to rise that will change.

  19. Good post. I think buying just what you need for the next week, maybe with some cans or meat that aren’t so perisheable is just common sense. Why storing things? Why spending so much money on what ends as garbage?
    Me and my boyfriend, we like to cook, experiment new recipes or improve old ones. Now we make a short menu (one cooked meal per day ) for the next week and bye as extra the vegetables, milk, bread, fruits and egs that I know will be eaten for sure at breakfast or if we want to do something fast (sallad) for dinner.
    This way we manage to cook something new more often, because we are prepared and have all the necesary, not ordinary ingredients.
    Freezing things seems ok, still we do it only for meat, fish,and soup vegetables we prepare in the automn.
    Real food is the fresh food, made of natural ingredient as much as possible.
    It’s really that simple: you bye less, you keep your money, you stay healthy.

  20. Most food waste I think occurs because people refuse to confront the reality of their lives. “I’ll buy seven pounds of peaches and spend all weekend cooking peach pies, and then I’ll roast those two frozen turkeys, and make a pork roast in the slow cooker, and then it’s homemade ice cream!”

    Then, they wake up on the weekend, don’t feel like doing any of it, and it’s take-out pizza. Three weeks later, whatever the peaches have turned into in the fridge in the meanwhile gets thrown out, and the turkeys and pot roast get tossed in eight months because of Ice-Age quality freezer burn. The cream for the ice cream? Goes bad and gets thrown out.

    People need to be realistic about their free time and what they can accomplish during it. No, you will not successfully can six hundred and fifty jars of jam on the weekend if your weekends are usually spent in bed surfing the internet on your laptop. And if you live by yourself or have at MOST one kid with your spouse, you do not need six hundred and fifty damn jars of jam in the first place.

    Food waste annoys me. I grew up with a family that didn’t have much, and seeing enormous quantities of food go to waste just ticks me off. Making a misjudgement once is one thing, but habitually buying gobs and gobs more than you need after life has illustrated to you over and over that you won’t use or need that much is obscene.

    People need to buy as much as they need and no more, and become friends with the concept of “enough.” Americans aren’t good at that. That’s why we’re all spherical and up to our eyeballs in debt.

    • That is so true. Self knowledge is an absolute prerequisite for a frugal life. And food management seems to be a real sticking point for many people. Part of it is buying for the person we wish we were, instead of who we really are.

  21. Great post and congrats on being FP! Love your blog and I’m going to subscribe.

    I never have to throw out food. And, I buy gallons of milk and freeze the extra in glass jars. I’m not sure how long it lasts since we always use it within a month.

    I wrote a post about pickled eggs yesterday since that’s the only reliable storage I’ve found for them.

    • Thanks so much. And it is good to hear from people who know how to handle the food flow through.

  22. Tell my wife this. Sounds like

  23. A big part of the problem for me is going to the grocery store when I’m hungry! Great post!!

  24. We have chickens, a great way to use up any vegetable peelings, leftovers and slightly stale bread! I also try to reuse any leftover bits of meals either for lunches or add to another main meal and I plan for the weeks meals.

    • Bless the humble chicken for all the gifts she gives us. I recommend chickens to all those who have the means to keep them.

  25. I just cleaned my fridge top to bottom and this is a very helpful reminder. I’m always throwing things away my roomies didn’t store properly or simply forgot on the back of the bottom shelf 🙂 We don’t have a lot of money to spend on food so we use food stamps and a monthly trip to our local food bank. This means we have to be careful about what we buy and that there might be some waste (you try going through 3 heads of already turning lettuce!) but we are grateful for the fruits, vegetables and meat we get from the pantry. It meant learning how to cook with venison and smelling some questionable dairy items on occasion but we probably wouldn’t have been able to get by without the food assistance our state offers when I lost my job several months ago.

    I started my own garden, wish me luck on saving even more money and eating healthy as a poor twenty-something in America! 🙂 I even make recipes on my blog on occasion to show readers how to cook yummy food (even with items from the food bank!)

  26. Wasting food was one of the things that really bugged me about living at my mother’s place – she still hasn’t quite got the hang of cooking for “only” three to four people, and the bread always got mouldy. Now that it’s just me, I usually manage to cook no more than I can eat, and if there are leftovers, I either freeze them or eat them the next day. The only food I’ve had to throw out in the last five months were some carrots (silly store-bought carrots go bad too quickly – how long till I can buy from the farm again?) and very rarely, milk.
    Though I have to say, being short on money helped a lot more with developing those habits than being environmentally conscious did. I think it would do a lot of people good to be poor for a while, to realize what’s important and to learn to waste nothing.

  27. Good points, I’m glad you were able to bring them to the forefront of everyone’s minds as food wastes can be stopped.



  28. Good points. Rather that buying more food than we are going to get around to eating, perhaps we should buy less and not worry about running out. I always have emergency food on hand that I can make a good meal out of. For example, canned chopped clams for linguine with clam sauce. I always have the rest of the ingredients on hand: pasta, olive oil, white wine (or dry vermouth) Parmesan cheese and garlic.

  29. Great post. I just spent 30 minutes cleaning out my fridge and found myself tossing way too much — leftovers, stuff I just hadn’t used, stuff I had bought and planned to use, then didn’t. I felt horrible the whole time, this post was very timely. I am getting better about buying only what I need, but I need to get better at figuring out what to do when life gets in the way. Thanks for posting!

  30. I love this post! One thing my roommates and I DIDN’t do was SHARE our food! That’s why we had so much of it rot and go to waste. Now we share at least bread, milk and fruit. Saved a LOT of money, gas, and food.

  31. You should see my fridge. Its gross

  32. Oooo! I’m so excited I found you Freshly Pressed. I’m subscribing now and can’t wait to dig into your archives.

  33. In my house since there are 3 of us living here food doesn’t go to waste but just disappears too fast. But there’s another problem; food spoiling way before it’s date or fruit that has to be thrown away because it’s not ripe. Here’s my two stories with this.

    I bought one of those big bags of salad and a watermelon from Sam’s club. I ate the salad every day with dinner but it spoiled more quickly in less than a week and a half.

    The watermelon had to be thrown out because it was so bland and inedible. No trace of sweetness. The last watermelon I bought from them was very nice but this time around it was horrible.

    I hated to throw away the watermelon but I wouldn’t give anyone something that bad. I think the watermelon was bland because a lot of these big grocery stores ship in their fruits unripe hoping that they ripen when it’s sitting in transit or on a store shelf.
    From that experiance I think I’ll get my watermelon from an organic store or farmers market.

  34. Thank you for this! It’s good that you’ve reminded us all of the bad in wasting food. I do waste sometimes, but I think I’ll stop now. 🙂

  35. indeed,the habit is very terrible!
    i agree with your idea:)

  36. Great posts! I loved, “A successful food shopping expedition starts at the kitchen table with a pen and paper”. When I go to the grocery store without a list I always over shop!

  37. Really great post and points. Im the shopper in our family and I prefer to ‘try’ and make everything the natural way. Juice, teas..etc. I can’t stand throwing out a bottle of juice as it’s expired. Such a waste of money. Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

  38. I feel so bad when I waste food. Mainly, it’s usually because I thought I would be able to cook something and then I was too exhausted (just like you said) or something came up and we needed to have supper done in a hurry, and I end up letting what I was supposed to cook sit too long in the refridgerator and go bad.
    Honestly, I wasted less food when I went to the store daily and got what I was going to cook for the night. But that can be a tiring thing, also. Everybody is at the grocery store right after work. Then you wait too long in the check-out line, and by the time you get it paid for and in your car to go home, your exhausted again from all the rushing.
    It’s best for me to plan for a few days and make sure whatever I take out of the freezer, that we will cook and eat it in two days. Also, if I have a few of those already-cooked-in-a-bag skillet meals, like Bertolli’s or Stouffers, then if I can’t cook what I have taken out of the freezer earlier in the morning, I can have the pre-cooked food and cook the other the next day.

  39. I know someone who think she’s a celebrity, she buys things she doesn’t need and let’s it go to waste intentionally.

  40. Guilty of all of the above!

  41. I hate doing this, but of course I do it all the time…especially with fruit and leftovers!

  42. Well done with this post. We need to be conscious of our waste now more than ever.

  43. this was an insightful post:) glad to read it

    have a great day

  44. Good post. You are spot on. Personally I think that if you have ever seen someone go hungry or stay for three days without eating, you will never ever waste food. In the world we are living now where so many of us are facing economic hardships we do not have the luxury to waste even an ounce of anything edible. The situation might not be as bad in Europe and America but here it is very real.

    Stay in Peace People and svae as much as you can.

  45. I always feel so awful throwing away large amounts of food. In my family, we are pretty picky eaters, and our trash cans fill up pretty fast with wasted food.

    I wonder if there’s a program that sends wasted food to poor third world countries?

  46. Thanks.

  47. “freezer burned mystery goo” – love it!

    Really like the idea of leaving some room for spontaneity in the weekly meal plan.

  48. It is not just the immediate food waste that can be prevented, but the by products of some of the things we consume. Take coffee grounds for example, tonnes and tonnes of used coffee grounds are discarded each day when this could all be reused for making compost and fertilizer for our gardens, enriching the soil. I’ve used over 2 tonnes in my own garden and it is something that anyone else could do.
    Most of our food can also be turned back into soil, which doesn’t excuse the waste in the first place, but it is a start.

    • Inspired by your comment, on my task list for today I just noted stopping by my favorite diner to “take out the trash” beneath their coffee machine. My new garden is quite excited about the prospect. Thank you.

  49. Wasting food happens everywhere and thanks for sharing. Perhaps we need to stop taking food for granted

  50. Dead waste, as you call it, has always bothered me as well! Great job in helping to raise awareness on this often over-looked issue, which is especially important due to the current economic reality that we all face daily!

  51. I’ve tried shopping less, making sure I use all my leftovers as cold cuts or complete meals. Ive cut down the food waste considerably but there is still far too much. I’m convinced it is something to do with nesting. Funnily enough we have very little canned and packet food.

  52. wow good post! I also have this problem with food wasting, it appears that it becomes some kind of bad habit that should be fixed!

  53. Great post! I feel like you’ve been to our house! You definitely nailed my husband and I and our food wasting habits!

  54. Good suggestions. I try my best to avoid wastage of food, and for the same I have to struggle a lot. Wasting food is the one of the greatest sins. Freezing things is what I do mostly, esp when I buy items in bulk. Thank you for these suggestions.

  55. […] Food Waste: Why We Do It and How We Can Stop « The Frugal Goddess. […]

  56. i am in early twenty just starting to live alone…. I do eat out more than I should as my fridge is out of food sooo often or also i only have one or two kinds of veggies in there…. I’m trying to be more organized..! thanks for the info

  57. HI! I also am a “frugalista”! I am happy to know there are others who are attempting to minimize waste in our society. Also being a “foodie”, food waste is one of my pet peeves. Thanks for this well thought out article!

    HInts on minimizing food waste: buy from the bulk section of the grocery. The prices here are typically less per pound because packaging is minimized greatly, and you can buy only as much or as little as you need, hence cutting down on waste. For the zucchini, ask your grammie to show you how to can your veg! 😉

  58. I have another idea. If you really cannot use leftovers or anything else, wrap them up and give them to a homeless person, or a soup kitchen. Here in NYC, homeless people always ask if we can spare any food. I give them apples or bananas if I have them.

  59. Something I want to get back to and review. Thanks.

  60. Laziness is definitely why our food goes to waste most of the time. It makes me feel so guilty!

    Thanks for the links. They answered a lot of questions I’ve always had.

  61. Dogs are always willing to eat extra food. Just be sure it is not something they can’t have.

  62. […] was drawn to her blog by the much-commented post on food waste (one of our Greenblade goals is to talk about food disposal as well as cultivation and […]

  63. Thanks for sharing your info.

  64. Every time I throw food I fill like I just did a crime. A crime against mother nature for wasting her resources, a crime against the billion hungry people that live all around the world and a crime against the future of my kids.

  65. I have been struggling with solution to this problem in my home. We have been doing better latly though, I take meat out the morning of not the night before, that way if plans change Ihave a better chance of catching it before taking dinner out, also we have been forcing ourselves not to go out to eat if we aready have taken food out, this is offten very hard to do after a long tiring day!

  66. Just moved into a new place. I have a frickin’ huge fridge and freezer. Double the size to what I am accustomed to.

    However, I don’t plan to fill it up unless it is food I will actually eat without spoilage. I’ve been so accustomed to buying perishable foods on a wk. by wk. basis that it’s a habit I don’t feel like breaking now.

    It is rather starnge because I live in a 1-bedroom place. So fridge size is out of whack to potential number of occupants.

    I am car-free (for last 25 yrs.) so I bike for shopping and everywhere else. or transit. Believe me, that alone, controls the volume that one can carry and bike homeward! A cycling lifestyle for certain, tempers your consumer addictions / consumer lifestyles!

  67. Hey Annabel,
    I really enjoyed your post. I guess I am a frugal person based on your post, haha. I hate wasting, and I walk to the store which is two blocks away about every other day to buy what I need. Then I do my best to use up that food. I prefer little trips than big grocery shopping. Plus, I love the excercise of walking there. I know this isn’t possible for everyone. I with no kids(yet) and only one other person to buy for, I love the freedom of it all. Thanks for sharing I think I’ll keep reading your posts if they are similar to this one!


  68. Cool post! The idea of wasting food (or anything for that matter) being tied to identity is intriguing – we waste because we don’t know ourselves.

  69. I hate seeing food go to waste while million of ppl ie of hunger all around the world in poor countries.

  70. great post!

  71. It was hard for me to adjust to cooking for two after the kids left. But my daughter came in one day and said, “Mom, why do you have all this food in the fridge?” She was right – a lot was wasted. Now I buy less, the fridge stays emptier – and we eat our leftovers better! It’s still a work in progress though! Great post!

  72. Also with all the BJs, Sams Clubs and Costco buys people think that buying more for less is a great deal but when you have a crate of perishable foods that decay faster than you can eat it, it’s is just a huge waste.

  73. OMG I needed to read this. Food waste is the hardest thing for me to be frugal about. Between eating out spontaneously and throwing away good fruit because I kept it in the fridge too long, I wast too much money on this sh*t.

  74. I work at a country club during the summers when I am home from college, and the amount of wasted food, cups, water, etc makes me want to go crazy! I like your points in this article, hopefully we can implement them this summer.

  75. Lovely post. I grew up with a huge family (8 siblings), so when I left for college and was living on my own, I really had to re-learn how to shop for a single person. Thankfully, my mother was quite frugal and taught me a lot, even if I needed different quantities.

    Now I’m in charge of my own house; meal planning and list making are key.

  76. Thanks for the reminders. I just wrote a blog about do we throw things out too fast!

  77. When I lived with my family, my Dad did the shopping but he bought stuff for me I didn’t eat because he thought it was healthy and he liked it. I don’t eat mushroom, capsicum, olives or pumpkin and he liked all those things. But then after it was prepared because he made it for 3 of us – (me who did not any of it, my mom who only ate small portions and him when he had free time from work), lots went to waste.

    Seriously, don’t shop for other people if they will not eat what you buy at all!

  78. I freeze food if I cooked too much. There’s nothing worse than throwing food away just because you have had enough.

    Also when shopping I write a list, only buy what I need, and NEVER shop on an empty stomach!

  79. […] 29 May One thing I learned from my parents,money doesn’t grow on trees.Therefore,I always telling myself to use it wisely so that none of it goes pouring to the drain. When I first began studying the art and science of frugality I looked at many lists that claimed to be the top five or ten money wasters. I found that most of the items on the list were mere opinions. But one category stood out as being accurate and useful—the dead waste. These are not spending decisions, but rather mistakes. The parking ti … Read More […]

  80. It really made me ‘sick’ to hear from my step-daughter that the buying club she worked at throws away hundreds of beautiful frozen hams and more food than you can imagine rather than giving it away when it gets to the expiration date. What a huge waste of life and food. This is just at one club in a small town!

    It also always gets me to see how much food people throw away in our school cafeteria and local restaurants. I was taught to not even waste a tiny bit so I even get mad at myself when I let something spoil in the fridge.

  81. We barely throw any food away in our house – even stale bread gets whizzed in a mixer and stored as breadcrumbs for when they are needed.
    I halve jars of curry sauce, freezing half to use in another meal.
    I plan our weekly meals, trying to use ingredients that we have already, only popping to the shops when our cupboards look a bit dire.
    We manage on £33 a week food budget, and I bake like crazy.
    My only piece of advice is never be afraid of your freezer! It’s one of my most valued electricals!

  82. Food wasting is happening in Middle east frequently

  83. I live in a part of the world that doesn’t use preservatives ( at least not to the extent that they do in the USA), so food shopping for the week just doesn’t happen. I usually shop on the day of or just a few before. Also, since I know that the food will go bad so quickly I really try to only buy what I need. This has taught me a lot about the difference between what i need and what I really need. Americans waste so much everyday that whole countries could actually thrive on the wast alone. Thanks for the post! I really enjoyed it.

  84. Interesting article, thanks – I live in the UK and three years ago moved from central London to a small Sussex coastal town. The house is within a 5 minute walk to a Post Office, Butcher’s, General grocery convenience store, a fruit and veg seller and numerous small independent liquor/sweets and newspaper shops.
    Since setting up a new business from home and therefore losing a good salary for nearly 2 years and my husband having exclusive use of the car for his hour long journey to work, my food shopping can no longer be done by car, so I buy only what I can carry, fresh, in shopping bags every few days. The results have been astounding. I no longer throw ANY food that’s gone off because I am planning my meals and only buying what I can carry, and the fridge is never rammed full and only has what we need to eat in there! I know in America, it’s harder not to use the car, but I found it really helped!
    Best wishes, K

  85. What a great post. I face the problem of spoiled produce, because I detest going to the shops every day…. so I load up on produce, and end up with rotting veggies. Thank you for the tips on better shopping techniques. We do compost, so the “waste” is contained, but my pocketbook hurts because of the waste!

  86. Right on…I used the same thought in my blog this week and I am the last of eight kids…I should know better! I get frustrated that I do it myself…how much money could I save??? I will work on becoming a “Frugalista” of the fridge! Great post.

  87. We throw away such an absurd amount. Having said that I saw someone make spice bags for chutneys with a pair of old tights…a step too far.

  88. I think the other thing to add is to select a range of rresh foods– the lettuce won’t last a full week, but you can eat lettuce and peas at the beginning and carrots and potatoes at the end of the week. If you don’t get to the carrots, they’ll still be fine next week.

    The other challenge is shopping for one, as mentioned above. So often items are packaged for families of four! I find that you have to work around that, and be willing to freeze items or shop at alternate places where you can select your own volumes.

  89. This is AWESOME! Thanks. I’m a student on a budget and I hate finding that something I spent a lot of grocery-money on has gone to waste.

  90. Your article was very informative and very well written !! I will continue to come back to your blog to see what articles you have in the future !!Great graphics that kept my attention. Well done! Thanks for sharing!

  91. Really good blog. I agree that planning is everything, without a dinner plan, you end up buying food you don’t really want and wasting the majority of it.

  92. I was just wondering, do you stick to this subject often? Because I found it one of those unsaid things in daily society. It struck me funny because just yesterday morning I got a street sweeping ticket. But anyways, I have a green blog about green things, and this subject is definitely green. If you would like to exchange blog links and post them in the sidebar or something cool like that, let me know! =]

  93. Congratulations on a very well deserved fresh pressed!

    If even one quarter of people followed the very god suggestions here, that would still be a lot less food wasted.

    People who see nothing wrong at all with throwing away perfectly good food need to develop a conscience, if that’s possible.

  94. can someone please tell me how i can get a cool picture facebook logo like the one on this blog? i need a wordpress tutor!

  95. I’ve gotten much better at not being wasteful over the past year or so…still find myself buying too much produce just for myself. Now that my lettuce and spinach are big enough to pick, I hope I have zero waste for the summer!!

  96. […] Food Waste: Why We Do It and How We Can Stop Esta entrada foi publicada em cozinha e marcada com a tag cozinha. Adicione o link permanente aos seus favoritos. ← O melhor miojo do mundo LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  97. I love this post, I don’t think enough people know what kind of financial difference you can make by not over purchasing perishable foods.

  98. It’s amazing how much of America’s youth doesn’t even think about things like this, just like their parents didn’t. The cycle just keeps on spinning….

  99. I think a lot of it has to do with our natural mentality to “get a deal”. If we see produce or meat at a low price we have a tendency to buy a lot – even more than we could eat – because it’s a bargain.

  100. When I was a kid wasting food was a “sin”. Now wasting food is composting. Composting is good. It is hard to recognize what is a bad way to treat food. All you have to do to replace it is burn a gallon of gas to drive across town to get more.

  101. I will say, I do like food and I hate to waste it.

  102. nice to m U

  103. Brilliant post. Food waste is so not needed and pointless. Waste of a vital resource, money and time… Great post.

  104. When my son left home I decided that my husband and I would eat up everything that was in the kitchen that wasn’t way past it’s sell by date.
    I started by throwing a lot of old stuff out, and then tried to work out the best way to use everything that we already had.
    I found that I had to buy more ingredients to make meals from what I had, but my grocery bill went down (even after factoring in the savings caused by my son’s absence).
    I’ve stuck to this plan for 2 years now, and continue to enjoy a reduced food bill.

  105. Nice post! Everyone should use up stuff that is about to expire or sitting in the fridge. I type them into recipe sites and THEN expand my shopping list if necessary.

    Recommended sites for searching recipes by ingredients:

    Also I use to find out how best and long to keep an ingredient.


  107. […] (*Bloom and Webber quotes referenced via this article by Hugh Collins for AOL.) When I first began studying the art and science of frugality I looked at many lists that claimed to be the top five or ten money wasters. I found that most of the items on the list were mere opinions. But one category stood out as being accurate and useful—the dead waste. These are not spending decisions, but rather mistakes. The parking ti … Read More […]

  108. I agree, it is way too easy to waste food, and I feel guilty every time it happens! So thankful for my freezer, it makes things a lot more manageable…love this post!

  109. I’ve gone thru a time in my life when I was very poor and couldn’t afford food so food wasting actually angers me. Yet…my kids pointed out to me that *I* am guilty of wasting food but I never seem to notice because I’m putting it in the compost :-/ Still… it goes on my garden to nourish food we grow. Somehow this makes me feel better

  110. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Great post, and on a topic that interests anyone with a budget.

    My main problem has been with fresh fruits & veggies spoiling before they’re used up. I’ve eliminated most of that by using the Fresh Extend zip bags from Hefty.

    Storing bananas in a brown paper bag away from heat sources helps them stay fresh longer. If they still don’t get eaten before turning, I make banana bread, which freezes well.

  111. I stand in a food aisle and know in my head that a pound of fresh spinach goes bad quickly. But, it’s buy one get one free? I have been trying to really get out of this wasteful habit or at least give the excess to someone that can use it.

  112. Every morning I enjoy self-pressed orange juice. Only problem: The orange comes all the way from Spain.

  113. […] Read full article at: […]

  114. Wasting food is a major deal. Not only does food get wasted but so many other things in your house. Go to where you can split items up! Stop wasting and put money back in your pocket.

  115. I do not waste food – EVER! my plate is always clean at the end of a meal and I never buy things I am not going to eat. call me a creature of habit but it works for me and I save money that way!

  116. Very much required…

  117. Some great ideas – we live too much in a disposable society!

  118. food waste is so annoying, especially when you live in a house share and you could have clubbed together and eaten it all. great post and good tips, im going to lord it all over the girls and ensure we are doing our bit for the world!

  119. […] Food Waste: Why We Do It and How We Can Stop « The Frugal Goddess. […]

  120. Wow. You are right. It is good to keep these things in mind. We are all at fault in some way or other. I need to keep checking through my fridge and freezer to see what I have. I try t make sure to do that before I go shopping and buy all the same things. Very informative post. Thank you for the reminders. Congrats on FP!

  121. Very informative post, thanks author. It really is!

  122. […] Food Waste: Why We Do It and How We Can Stop « The Frugal Goddess. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Anna Arkadyevna Karenina in Anna Karenina LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  123. WASTE BIN?!?!?!

    Composting, anyone? Do people seriously throw food in the garbage anymore?

  124. […] The Frugal Goddess – Food Waste: Why We Do It and How We Can Stop […]

  125. […] The author goes on to give reasons for food waste. You can read the rest of the article here. […]

  126. Hey, nice blog. There’s a campaign running in the UK showing people how they can use up everyday left overs. I’ve just made a post about it on my ecoblog

  127. Great article! No one likes to waste food, especially with so many that don’t get enough of it in the world. Here’s one of our blog posts on other ways to conserve:

  128. For reasons I can’t entirely explain, I thought this post was going to be about the waste of all that food packaging going into the landfill. That one’s been bothering me lately. But I definitely do have this same problem! Mostly produce… I don’t understand why sweet potatoes spoil in my cool, dry storage closet after just a few days. What do I have to do, nature?!

  129. haha, I think I am a “frugalista”. I didn’t know if that’s a real word but I like it. Anyways I’m a leftover eater. I hate seeing food going to a waste too. I’m also guilty eating things past the expiration date if I think it’s still good. Not anything moldy or gross haha.

  130. Great post, we waste so much here in America.

  131. It throughly annoys me when food gets wasted. I’m always checking expiration dates and rotating food front to back so things don’t get trhrown out or non perishables can be donated before they expire. One of our friends make fun of us because there’s rarely food in our fridge but I like fresh vegetables and fruit and try to only buy a little even if it means going to the grocery store several times a week.

  132. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Great post, and on a topic that interests anyone with a budget.

  133. Congratulations best

  134. That is very true. One of my biggest waste is making over sized dinners, when I know it’s just me and my daughter. There seems to be let over for days. The way I cook sometimes we could have the same meal for the entire week. Shame on me. I’ll do better.

  135. […] 13, 2011 by gwdude I came across another blog the other day, that hits a sore spot with me. See Food Waste: Why We Do It and How We Can Stop. This blogger has a lot on the […]

  136. I also just wrote an article about food waste. I think that it is a really important issue.

    You can see the article here:

  137. Thanks for sharing content to read.

  138. I ha e some chickens, and my food waste and the guilt that goes along with it has gone way done. As an exampple…just brought home the left over pasta (and there was aLOT of it) that was the side dish at the restaurant. Chickens LOVE LOVE LOVE pasta! They eat anything. Then they reward you with lovely eggs. Yougurt, fruit, meat (even chicken) oatmeal. Better than the composte pile.

  139. […] here is a link to the original post that started the whole project: Share this:ShareFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUponPrintReddit This entry was posted in Food, Keeping […]

  140. […] Annabel Ascher of The Frugal Goddess offered: “Food waste is a result of bad planning and misguided food procurement. It takes […]

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