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Food waste is filling up our landfills — how you can easily help reduce how much goes in

Great ways to cut back on food waste and save money in the process.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Here are some food waste facts that might be hard to swallow:

  • The average family of 4 in Florida throws out about $1600 worth of food each year.
  • 40% of all food grown and produced in the U.S. is never eaten.
  • 1 in 5 people in this country lacks consistent access to nutritious food. 

Daniel Gallagher is Hillsborough County's Recycling Coordinator

"So let's start to figure out what we're throwing away. What we're not eating and what we don't eat in time and start cutting back that way," Gallagher said. "And then when you go to the grocery store, the number one thing is don't shop hungry. Come with a meal plan, know what you're going to eat."

Freeze any extra fresh produce you have to use later in healthy smoothies. And Gallagher says to learn the difference between food waste and wasted food. 

"Wasted food is all those vegetables that you bought and didn't eat in time. And then there's food waste, little bits and scraps that you can't eat, but you can compost."

Keep in mind, food is the single largest category of material going into our landfills. It produced powerful greenhouse gases like methane. So really think before you throw. 

Brian Taylor is a registered dietitian with Hillsborough County. "By throwing food away, you're really just throwing money away. So especially now with food prices going up and budgets are just a little tighter, it's important that we try to maximize our food."

Composting is a great option for your food scraps like banana peels, potato peels and coffee grounds. You can use it in a home garden and save on fertilizer costs as well. Click here for information on composting classes in Hillsborough County.

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