Thursday, May 10, 2012

Super Shopping! Save Money and the Planet at Your Next Trip to the Grocery Store.

The constant headlines reminding us of our need to "save the planet" can be overwhelming, causing us to want to block it all out of our minds. In most cases, just thinking about how we can change things leaves us stumped for answers, we end up doing little or nothing. But, by making a few small changes in the way we shop for groceries, we can make a change in our "corner of the world."

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as of 2009, our country generates approximately 1.4 billion pounds of solid waste every day. That's 5 pounds of paper products, plastics, metals, and other disposables for each person, daily; and that average person's waste adds up to 65 tons.  We believe that we are "getting rid" of  what we don't need, but that isn't really the case. Out of all of our solid waste, only half of what gets tossed actually gets broken down or recycled, the other half heads to local landfills.
The clincher is that of that 1.4 billion pounds of solid waste, uneaten food accounts for nearly 14 percent of that waste.  Of that 34 million tons of uneaten food, less than 3 percent of it actually gets recycled.  Since 2010, wasted food is now the largest form of solid waste reaching our landfills- even more than paper, which gets recycled more often. Source: U.S. EPA (2010)     
Here's where you come in...
By simply purchasing only the food you realistically will eat, you will save dollars at the register and by not throwing away money by tossing uneaten food! The average family of 4 loses nearly $600 annually on spoiled food, not including uneaten food on plates! U.S. News & World Report offer the following tips for saving your money and your planet one meal at a time:
  1. Make a list of what you need and stick to it. This requires basic meal planning for the next few days or for the week.
  2. Don't shop while hungry. Everything starts to look tasty, and you are likely not going to be able to consume all that you purchase.
  3. Be cautious about buying in bulk. Only stockpile what you know can be used before it expires.
  4. Organize your fridge. This will help you be aware of what you already do have so that you won't repurchase or forget to use up what you have.
  5. Get creative with your leftovers. Stay tuned for my upcoming topic which will give tips on reinventing your leftovers to save time and money.

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