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Reducing Food and Packaging Waste

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), food and packaging/containers account for 45% of landfill materials, with around a third of the U.S. food supply discarded as food waste. Reducing food and packaging waste reduces environmental impacts and provides cost savings for both the food industry and consumers. For more information on ways to reduce food and packaging waste, check out the resources below.

Understanding Food Product Dating and Labeling

Misunderstanding food product date labeling is responsible for an estimated 20% of consumer food waste. Date labels are generally not required on packaged food; the key exception is for infant formula products, which are required to have a “use by” date.

Manufacturers generally include date labels at their discretion and for a variety of reasons. The most common is to inform consumers and retailers of the date up to which they can expect the food to retain its desired quality and flavor.

Consumers should utilize their senses to detect changes in texture, appearance, or smell of food products. Consumers can also consult the FoodKeeper app to view an extensive guide on maximizing the quality and freshness of food products.

Other Ways to Reduce Food Waste

You can also take other steps to reduce food waste in your home including:

  • Refrigerating peeled or cut vegetables for freshness, quality, and safety.
  • Using the freezer as your friend. Freezing is a great way to store many foods to retain their quality until you are ready to eat them.
  • Avoid bulk and impulse purchases, especially of produce and dairy, that have a limited shelf life.
  • When eating out, if you’re not very hungry, request smaller portions. Bring leftovers home and refrigerate or freeze them within two hours.