Food Waste Prevention

The Problem of Food Waste

Wasted food not only wastes all of the resources that went into growing and transporting the food to your household, but it also has long term consequences once it reaches a landfill. Sending organic waste, including food waste, to the landfill is a big problem. In a landfill, organic waste undergoes anaerobic decomposition from the lack of oxygen and generates methane. When released into the atmosphere, methane is ~25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. 

Methane is also a valuable resource, and the natural gas piped into our homes is primarily methane. Landfills are lined with a membrane designed to prevent the release of methane, offering an opportunity to capture methane before it enters the atmosphere, and put the resource to use. While this is a great use of this gas, there is always going to be some leakage and the organic matter is lost to anaerobic digestion.

If we send organic material to a composting facility, which uses open row composting or Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting, organic waste breaks down through aerobic digestion and creates a useful byproduct, compost. These methods also reduces the amount of methane released from a landfill. 

While there is no silver bullet currently for organic waste, there are many organizations, private businesses, and residents taking this topic seriously and identifying creative solutions for diverting organic matter from the landfill. As we work together, we take a collaborative approach to reaching our 2020 goal of diverting 75% of organic matter from the landfill.

20% of the material Ventura residents send to the landfill from their homes is made up of food waste. About half of that is inedible food scraps, parts that you typically wouldn’t eat like an avocado skin or corn husks. This means that the other half is preventable, and edible food could have been saved from going to waste. Preventing food waste at home can be a challenge, but it is one of the best ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It all starts with you! For the best tips and not-so-secrets to saving food, check out the info below, crafted by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC)'s Save The Food campaign, and visit!

Quick Tips for Food Waste Prevention

Shop Smart

  • Buy fresh ingredients in smaller quantities more often so you waste less while enjoying fresher ingredients.
  • Buy only what you realistically need and will use. Buying in bulk only saves money if you are able to use the food before it spoils.
  • Choose loose fruit and vegetables over pre-packaged produce to better control the quantity you need and to ensure fresher ingredients.
  • Create your shopping list based on how many meals you expect to eat at home before your next shopping trip. Include quantities on your shopping list to avoid overbuying.
  • Keep a running list of meals that your household already enjoys. That way, you can easily choose a meal to prepare Shop your fridge and cupboards first to avoid buying food you already have.

Keep Food Fresh

  • Don't toss that extra milk! Milk can be frozen up to two months in an airtight container. Don't forget to leave room for the liquid to expand!
  • Find a deal on produce or meat at the grocery store? Use your freezer to keep food fresh up to six months. Remove the meat from the store packaging, trim fat, and double wrap in an airtight freezer bag. Fresh vegetables can be blanched before freezing to preserve taste and nutritional value.
  • Keep your fridge organized and set at 40 degrees F or slightly cooler. The coldest part of the fridge is the lower shelves. Keep meats and other perishable foods there.
  • Set one crisper drawer to low humidity for fruits and other crisper drawers at high humidity for vegetables.

Eat What You Buy

  • About 2/3 of the food we don't eat is a result of overbuying and spoilage. Keep an "Eat Now" box in your fridge for leftovers and foods that need to be consumed soon.
  • Casseroles, frittatas, soups, and smoothies are great ways to use leftovers and odds and ends.
  • Plan an "eat the leftovers" night each week.
  • Share food you won't get around to eating with friends neighbors, or coworkers.
  • Freeze food if you can't eat it right away.