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8 Clever Ways To Waste Less Food (And Save More Money)

06/03/2015 07:00 am ET | Updated Jun 03, 2015

food waste
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Food waste is a big problem. Roughly 50 percent of food in America is thrown out every single day -- that's nearly $165 billion a year. And there's a big chance that you're part of that problem. (Don't feel bad, it's not just you.)

But you've come to the right place to start fighting against this startling statistic, because we've got eight clever ways to waste less. Adopt just one of these ideas into your everyday life and start making a difference -- and saving some money, too. Remember, every effort counts.

1. Be mindful of your greens.
Leafy greens are delicate. They wilt before you can even think about eating them. And they're almost always the first thing to be tossed directly from fridge to trash. But learning how to properly store those greens can up their life by many, many days.

2. Plan your meals.
We can't stress this enough. By planning your meals and writing out a list, you can be sure to get just what you need for the week -- which means you'll eat everything you buy. Be sure to plan your meals so that the ingredients that expire fastest are used first.

3. Use up food scraps.
The easiest way to waste less food is to cook with food scraps. Apple cores can be used in place of pectin in jelly. Broccoli stems make awesome slaw. And the green tops of carrots are lovely for garnish. Those are just a few ideas to get you started.

4. Get an app for that.
Apps like PareUp and Leftover Swap are helping make food waste a thing of the past.

5. Make the freezer your best friend.
If you don't think those bananas are going to make it to the end of the week, freeze them -- they can later be made into a great ice cream. Not sure you'll have time to cook the chicken tomorrow? Freeze it now and save it for another week. Study this handy freezer chart and learn what freezes well and how long it'll last.

6. Support the ugly produce movement.
Six billion pounds of produce is wasted every year, simply because it's ugly. Help bring that number down.

7. Don't be a slave to the sell by date.
Often times food is still safe after the date has passed. Seriously.

8. Throw out the bad apple.
One bad apple (or strawberry or kiwi) can ruin the rest of the bunch. This is one of those cases where it's actually just better to throw it out -- or compost it.

It's that simple, folks. Start making a change today.

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