Reducing Food Waste is Good for the Planet and Your Wallet

Green organics waste barrel photo

Waste and recycling professionals work hard every day to protect the environment for all of us. We’ve all seen the drivers who collect our waste and recycling, but there are many more workers behind the scenes. All of them deserve our thanks for the work they do.

Reducing Food Waste is Good for the Planet and Your Wallet

There is no such thing as food waste, just wasted food.

Let’s face it, wasting food is bad—not just for the environment, but also for our wallets. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that up to 40% of food in the United States goes uneaten1, while CalRecycle reports that food accounts for 18% of waste in California’s landfills2.

When edible food and other organics materials end up in a landfill, the natural decomposition process emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) that is considered a climate super polluter. Wasting food is a big problem and for consumers, wasting food is essentially wasting money.

Here are some tips to help reduce wasted food at home:
Supermarket basket with items overflowing
Avoid Overbuying

The simplest way to reduce food waste is to start at the source and only purchase what you need. While at the grocery store, think about the amount of food your family can realistically eat and consider if that food can be consumed within a reasonable time. Overbuying is a common shopping habit that can be prevented, which will lead to a better environmental impact and more money in your pocket.

Open refrigerator door with foot items on shelves
Limit Overcrowding

When we buy more than we have space for, it leads to overcrowding of our fridges and pantries. This makes it difficult to see the edible items we have and which are passed their use-by date. Implementing a ‘first in, first out’ policy reduces spoilage and ensures that you’re prioritizing products that will go bad first. To learn more about use-by dates, check out our Decoding Food Date Labels video.

Different food items stored in reusable containers
Use Effective Storage Practices

It is important to use storage practices that keep food fresh and tasty for as long as possible. Use air-tight containers for open dry goods to help preserve freshness. Freezing excess leftovers is also a good method to extend the life of food. For a detailed food storage guide, visit

Throwing compostable food scraps onto green compost container
Compost, Always

When it’s time to discard kitchen food scraps, prioritize composting opportunities versus tossing items into the trash. If you have a backyard composter, you can mix most food scraps along with landscaping waste to produce homemade compost. For items unsuitable for backyard composting, such as dairy and animal products, you can dispose of these materials in your green Athens organics container. To learn more about what is acceptable in the organics container, visit

Whether it’s minimizing the impacts of climate change or cutting down on wasteful spending, there are immediate benefits to helping reduce wasted food. For more at-home organics recycling tips, visit


  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Food Waste FAQs
  2. CalRecycle – Preventing Food From Reaching the Landfill

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