The Girls Gone Green
So, how can we as a society change that? Three main ways:
- Buy and grow only what you plan on using (unless you give your extra food away)
- Eat your leftovers!
- And compost your scraps
You don’t have to cook again! What can be simpler than reheating a dish?
Leftovers can often be frozen to be enjoyed at a later time. If you’re in a hurry on a busy school night or need a quick lunch option, grab a single-portion serving of a leftover dinner from the freezer, unthaw and heat.
Get creative and use your leftovers as an ingredient in another dish. For example, leftover mashed potatoes could be used to make potato pancakes, like this recipe from Plant-based Cooking. Leftover vegetables could be used to make a sandwich, wrap or salad.
Leftovers keep for up to a week. Perishable foods that are open or prepared should be thrown out after seven days, according to guidelines.
Donate or share your leftovers
You can also donate your perishable foods to a local sanctuary. As long as the food is not spoiled or moldy, most will be glad to have them for their residents.
Donate non-perishable foods you don’t plan on using to a food pantry. According to a 2017study, 40 million people struggle with hunger in the United States.
Compost your scraps
Backyard composting is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to begin your composting journey. Compost containers are readily available at neighborhood garden centers, hardware stores or second-hand. No need to buy new when food scraps will be going in it! You can also DIY a compost bin or turn an unused garbage can into a composter.
If you do not have the room for a compost bin in your backyard, you live in an apartment or condo, or your homeowner's association doesn't allow it, there are other options to consider. Community composting in a neighborhood, schoolyard, or community garden is one option. Another option is to look into a community composting organization near you. It's a paid service where the organization will come pick up your food scraps. In exchange, you can get some of the finished product back to use.
Not everything can be composted. As a general rule, no:
- Meat or bones
- Fats or oils
- Dog or cat feces
- Tea bags (which are made of plastic)
- Plastic wrap
- Disposable plastic-like cups that say they can be composted (those items need to be composted at a commercial composting facility – which very few cities have)