Food Waste Prevention
Our First Ever Citywide Food Waste Prevention Challenge was a Success! Over 60 Ventura residents signed up to take the 8-week challenge to reduce food waste at home. The purpose of this pilot program was to educate residents about how much food their households waste and provide simple tips to make changes that would save them money and reduce waste.
After a two week baseline period, residents began to implement small lifestyle changes - shopping pantries and refrigerator before going to the grocery store, buying fresh fruits and vegetables in small quantities, freezing leftovers, using vegetable trimmings to make stock, and even sharing extras with family and coworkers. Results varied household to household, but some of the most active participants saw a 60% reduction in the amount of food they tossed in the trash.
Preventable and Non-Edible Food Waste
What's the difference between preventable vs non-edible food waste? Food waste can actually be separated into two categories - preventable and non-edible.
Preventable food waste is the stuff that spoils before we can finish it - that half of a bag of spinach that wilted, the strawberries that rotted, or the take-out that somehow got stuck in the back of the fridge and forgotten about. Preventable food waste is exactly that...preventable.
Non-edible food waste is the stuff we probably won't be eating - egg shell, used coffee grinds, banana peels, stems, corn cobs...you get the idea. Non-edible food waste may not be appetizing to us, but worms sure like it! So do the good microorganisms in your backyard compost bin. If you want to try your hand at composting, the City offers discount vouchers for two different types of compost bins - the Wriggly Wranch and the Garden Gourmet.
Check out these great videos from our friends in King County, Washington!
Want to learn even more?
- A few cookbook ideas that promote a waste-free consciousness at home (so you don't end up buying those obscure ingredients that are only used once then tossed):
- Another issue paper from the NRDC title "The Dating Game." You're not alone if you're confused about the meaning of "sell by," "best before," or "use by" dates on food. Over 91% of consumers have thrown away food out of concern for its safety when the date they referred to actually intended to communicate to the store that the product still had shelf life left.
- Check out the Wasted Food blog - a project of the author of American Wasteland, speaker, and food waste activist Jonathon Bloom
- Visit the Natural Resources Defense Council's website to read their issue paper titled Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill
- Interesting read from the New York Times, "Starve a Landfill: Efficiency in the Kitchen to Reduce Food Waste"