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Green Tip of the Month: Reduce Food Waste


Purchase wisely
Buying more food than can be eaten before it spoils or discarding excess food taken from buffets, like those on campus, contributes to the nearly 1.3 billion tons of food wasted each year. Write a list before shopping to prevent impulse purchases. And, select a reasonable amount of food at self-service counters.


Know your labels
Distinguishing between "Best by," "Sell by" and "Use by" dates on food products can help reduce water wasted and emissions generated when creating and transporting food that ends up in the trash.

  • "Best by" is a manufacturer's recommendation for the timeframe during which the food will taste best. Food is edible past this date, until it looks, smells or tastes off.
  • "Sell by" is the time by which a vendor must sell the food, usually determined by health codes. Food can be edible past this date.
  • "Use by" is the last day the food is suitable for consumption.

Store properly
Improper storage of fresh food and leftovers is another source of waste. Check zip strip seals on packs of meats and cheese. Store fruits and vegetables in the crisper, which is designed to optimize temperature and humidity for longevity. Secure bags of cereal, crackers and chips with a clip to prolong freshness. Store leftovers in airtight containers and toss them in a (Rockefeller reusable) bag to bring to the lab/office for lunch or a snack!

Did You Know?

Conservation in the Laboratory

Did You Know?
Every year, consumers in wealthy countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons).