Spoiled food is costing Oregon households real money. In fact, every year the average household loses $1,600 by throwing away spoiled food. And while many people are already taking steps to reduce food waste, research funded by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality found that 85% of Oregon households agreed they could do more to reduce food spoilage.
To help motivate people to take simple steps to reduce food waste, DEQ launched a new statewide campaign that uses humor and cost-saving messages to inspire households to reduce the amount of food they throw away at home. The new campaign, referred to as “Bad Apple," is the result of extensive research that found that saving money is the primary driver for people to reduce food waste.
“Our goal is for fresher foods, happier eaters and fuller wallets,” says Elaine Batt, Senior Policy Analyst at DEQ. “It also takes time, energy and heart to grow and deliver our food to the table, and we want to and honor the important efforts of the many people who make our meals possible.”
It’s estimated that 25 to 40% of all food produced or imported for consumption is never eaten, and in Oregon, as much as 70% of all food tossed might have been eaten if simple steps had been taken like storing it well, not forgetting it in the fridge, or even freezing it to use later. When food goes uneaten, the resources used to produce it go to waste as well – growing, cooling, processing, transporting, storing, cooking, and ultimately disposing of food all have an enormous greenhouse gas emissions footprint. DEQ is committed to protecting Oregon’s air, land and water, and tackling the climate impacts of food waste is essential to our work.
The campaign also focuses on Oregon’s favorite foods – especially Oregon-grown fruits and vegetables – that are most readily prone to spoil, with specific tips on how to how to keep them fresher longer and save money.
Resources are available at Don't Let Good Food Go Bad.
Common tips include:
- Store food that will go bad soonest in a visible part of the fridge or pantry
- Keep track of what you have at home or what you need to use up before it goes bad
- Create meals from what you have on hand
- Finish all your leftovers
- Freeze for later use
- Monitor the temperature in the fridge to make sure it’s at the best setting to preserve your food
- Check your fridge and pantry before you shop
This effort builds on the work of many organizations across the state, including local governments, non-profits and businesses committed to reducing food waste.
Source: Oregon DEQ