How to cut expenses by preventing food waste

5:18 AM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - The average amount of food that a family of four in St. Paul wastes adds up quickly -- $24 per week, $96 per month and $1,152 per year.

"It surprised us. It truly surprised us," said Eureka's CEO Tim Brownell.

Brownell's recycling firm conducted the study which found that waste prevention is a huge benefit not only for the environment but also for bank accounts.

In the business of reducing trash, Eureka took a closer look at what families can do at home to prevent waste in landfills.

The first thing is to track food and figure out exactly what is being tossed out. By keeping food receipts and keeping a tally of what things really cost, the household losses are easy to see.

They also recommend creating a "use it up" shelf in your fridge. Fill the shelf with those almost-wilted greens or that little bit of cheese and find a use for the small stuff before it has to be tossed.

There are plenty of recipes online that will give ideas about how to mix a variety of things to make a meal.

Before shopping, take an inventory of groceries to prevent buying extra. Planning out meals will help not only save time, but money and ideally reduce waste.

Additionally, there are ways to make your food last longer. For example, keep celery and carrots in water and store lettuce in an air tight container with a paper towel.

Find more tips online or talk with neighbors and family and ask them what they do to make their food last.

"In particular, talk to your mother or grandmother. A lot of these tricks are exactly what they were doing for the generation before us or the generation before that," explained Brownell.

To think, a simple conversation about food could be the first step to save nearly $100 per month and more than $1,000 per year.

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