Thursday, November 18, 2010

Clean Your Plate

As Thanksgiving approaches and our pantries become overloaded, it can be easy to over-buy and overeat. The next time you over-order at your favorite restaurant or over-spend at the grocery store, consider this: 40% of the food produced in America is thrown away.

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What Others Are Doing

Campus Kitchens Project
There are currently 25 schools participating in this student-run project where they deliver food what would have otherwise been wasted to those in need. Students gather food from cafeterias and assemble them into meals. They not only gain skills in meal preparation, cooking, nutrition, fundraising, and management, but also serve their communities in this outstanding way.

For more information, please visit:

On-site Food Waste Recycling
The GaiaRecycle G-30H system was recently introduced by GaiaRecycle, LLC of Palo Alto, California, in order to address the food waste problems that primarily occurs at primary schools and small restaurants. With the push of a button, the G30H recycles mixed food scraps and organic waste including small bones (chicken, fish, etc.), fruits, vegetables, starches, egg shells, and all liquids PLUS milk or juice cartons, napkins, and plastic utensils. All of this is done without causing jamming and it minimizes downtime and lowers overall maintenance/operation costs. During the 8 hour processing cycle, it eliminates odors and cuts down volume by 90%, making the compost sterile and easy to handle.

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What You Can Do

• Freeze leftovers within 2 hours after being cooked in order to maintain quality.
• Avoid over-stuffing refrigerator/freezer and rotate items that expire sooner to the front
• If buying in bulk, purchase foods with long shelf lives (canned foods, rice, beans, etc.)
• Implement a rule in your household that eliminates leaving scraps behind, like a few potato chips at the bottom of the bag or a small amount of milk in the carton.
• Resist impulse buying at the grocery store and only buy what’s on your list.
• Plan meals ahead of time to avoid deviating from a shopping list.
• Store your food properly. Make sure food storage containers are closed and refrigerate/freeze if necessary.
• Control your portions by preparing only what you need. If there are leftovers, take them for lunch the following day.
• Learn a new recipe! There are many great resources online for preparing meals for a specific number of people, meals with leftovers, and meals that use those pesky vegetables that you aren’t sure how to prepare.
• Turn food waste into compost.

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