Save the Forgotten Food

One of the best ways to fight food waste is to re-think the food that we buy in comparison to the food that we actually use. We’ve all had that feeling of disappointment while going through our refrigerator only to find hidden fruits and veggies that turned moldy because they were shoved  into the back of the fridge. To understand why this is problematic, check out this short video produced by Ad Council.

The Ad Council provides helpful tips on the best ways to prevent food waste in your home including rethinking your shopping guidelines and understanding the truth behind the dates on the food we buy! Here are some of our favorite food saving tips for our wallets and the environment!

Before you head out of the grocery store, start by planning your grocery list.  Here is an example made specifically for creating zero food waste. One of the best things you can do is to only buy enough fresh food for the upcoming week.

Here are some more tips on meal planning to help make grocery store lists easier to plan:


  1. Take a few moments and figure out exactly how many meals you need to prepare.
  2. Consider the work load of the week to decide the complexity of meals you can make.
  3. Incorporate seasonal produce.
  4. Track your food consumption weekly to get a more accurate idea of how much food you need.
  5. Food expiration dates are only suggestions; they refer to the manufacturer’s estimate of when the food quality will be at its best and has less to do with actual food safety.
  6. Use a recipe generator to use up odds and ends left in your kitchen

Once you’re at the store, grab your reusable bags, and your shopping list. Our Marketing Manager, Sarah, keeps her grocery list on her phone because handwritten notes are easily forgotten or lost.

Also, while you’re scoping out the produce, choose the “ugly” fruits and veggies. Odd shapes and superficial imperfections do not affect the taste or health benefits of the produce at all!

ugly pretty
Photo Credit:

There are many things you can do here in San Diego reduce food waste – limit portion sizes, plan grocery lists, or volunteer at a food bank such as San Diego Food System Alliance, and San Diego Food Bank. Use any of these resources as a launching pad for your path to creating less food waste!

True or False: plastic bags go in the blue bin?

Today’s blog post comes from our Environmental Educator Monica Rosquillas!monica

Here’s a question we get a lot: do plastic bags go in my blue recycle bin?

Unfortunately, the answer is NO. We thought it was important to address this because plastic bags are one of those items that many people misplace into the recycle bin. To learn WHY plastic bags aren’t recycled along with other plastic products, we contacted our friends at EDCO Waste and Recycling. This is what our friend Robert Hill at EDCO had to say, “EDCO doesn’t process bags because this material reaps havoc on our equipment.  The bags clog our screens and we lose the ability to properly process all other items since the screens can’t separate items due to bags wrapping around them”. So basically, plastic bags aren’t taken in at the recycling facility because they clog up the equipment.


Here are some scary stats about how many bags we use, and how detrimental they are to the environment:

-Total number of plastic bags used worldwide annually: 1 trillion

-Number of plastic bags used worldwide per minute: 1 million

-Number of plastic bags the US uses per year: 1 billion

-Number of years it takes a plastic bag to degrade: 1,000 years

Keep these guys out of landfills!
Keep these guys out of landfills!

However, plastic bags can still be recycled! To do this, simply place them in a special plastic bag recycling container. These containers are widely available outside of grocery and retail stores.  Next time you go grocery shopping, remember to bring those plastic bags with you. From there, companies like TREX, recycle those bags into composite decks and deck furniture.

You can recycle your plastic bags at most major grocery stores
You can recycle your plastic bags at most major grocery stores

Of course we think recycling is great.  But even better than recycling is reducing by reusing! Refuse the plastic bag and bring your own reusable bag instead.