Change How You Shop for and Store Food

In your goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, one strategy is to lower your carbon footprint, which is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by your actions. Although there are many ways to minimize your carbon footprint, making dietary and lifestyle changes is a good place to start. By making simple changes like planning your meals ahead of time, embracing imperfect produce, cooking at home, and decreasing your food waste, you can cut your personal greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Keep in mind that efforts that seem small can make a big difference. 

Plan Meals to Reduce Food Waste: Food waste is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. It’s currently estimated that each person on the planet wastes a staggering 428–858 pounds of food per year, on average. Shop smart and realistically. Planning meals ahead of time, saving leftovers, and buying only what you need go a long way towards saving food.

Embrace Imperfect Produce: Retailers are encouraged to stock imperfect produce at reduced pricing. By purchasing “ugly” produce, it minimizes food waste while increasing access to fruit and vegetables for shoppers on a tight budget. 

Eat Seasonally: Buying seasonally, locally-grown food reduces food miles which refers to the distance that the food you buy has traveled. You not only avoid the processing, packaging, heating, and refrigeration that transporting food long distances entails—all of which consume energy—you also support small, local businesses. Food produced out of season is typically imported or takes more energy to grow due to the need for heated greenhouses.

Cook at Home: The Carbon Foodprint study tells us that restaurants and food service operations consume roughly the same amount of energy as home kitchens producing only 20% of the meals in America—and that’s before you consider the carbon impact of traveling to the restaurant. Cooking and eating at home is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint. It is also healthier and saves money.

Learn to Freeze and Store Food Properly: Freezing food such as bread, sliced fruit or meat if you know you won’t be able to eat it before it spoils reduces food waste. Storing food properly is also a factor.

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