Follow these tips to save money & avoid food waste

Blog Post
The text Food Waste Prevention Week, April 1 - 7, 2024 overlays a photo of a person's hands chopping carrots, celery and potato.
April 1 – 7, 2024 is Food Waste Prevention Week. Reducing food waste is a great way to keep your wallet full and positively impact the environment.

Why – and how – to prevent food waste

Did you know that 71 percent of the food that Oregon households throw away could have been eaten? But Oregonians want to change that: 80 percent say reducing food waste is important and personal actions make a difference. (Read the full study.)

Save money: Making the most of food and leftovers can save the average Oregon family of four a pile of dough – an estimated $1,600 per year!

Keep energy and resources from going to waste: For every stale piece of bread that gets tossed, all the energy, water, natural resources, and carbon emissions that were used to grow the wheat, mill the flour, bake the bread, and transport it to the store gets tossed with it. 

Small changes make a big difference: There are easy ways to prevent food from going to waste – like freezing your bread and then popping a slice in the toaster. Bread stays fresh for months in the freezer, compared to days at room temperature.

Check out the following tips to put your hard-earned bread to good use: 

3 tips to try

1. Plan ahead

Planning your meals ahead of time is one of the best ways to save money and reduce food waste since you buy only what you need.

  • Plan your meals based on your schedule – if you know you’ll be busy one night, try doubling a recipe to have two meals ready to go. Mark the days you’re going to eat out first, then plan the rest of your meals for the days that are left. 
  • Pick a day to go grocery shopping – having time set aside to shop can help you stick to your list of what you need, and it saves time and energy when you’re tired at the end of the day. Plus, "shopping your fridge" first can help you avoid buying what you already have, leading to less waste. 
  • Don’t forget your leftovers – if you know a favorite meal makes many servings, schedule the leftovers into your meal plans.

2. Donate extra food before it goes bad

Is your pantry overflowing with more food than you know what to do with? Do you have excess food from a business event? Don't let that food go to waste! 

Donate your extra or unwanted food to Urban Gleaners! This organization gets food to people in need right here in Portland. 

Learn more about how to donate food.

3. Compost what can’t be eaten

If you have a compost bin at your house, business, or apartment building, make sure to get all your peels, eggshells, and plate scrapings into the compost instead of the trash.

In addition to providing nutrient-rich fertilizer for farms, composting food waste also reduces harmful greenhouse gases. When you throw food in the garbage, it goes to the landfill where it creates methane gas, which worsens the climate crisis. This is why ensuring all of your food waste gets into your compost bin – rather than your garbage – matters. (Learn more.)

What you can do:

More ways to get involved

Come to the Farmers Market this Saturday

Join us on Saturday, April 6, 2024 at the Downtown Farmers Market on Portland State University campus. Stop by our table from 9 am - 2 pm to find information and free resources to help you reduce your food waste.

Cooking challenge, art contests, and more

Food Waste Prevention Week 2024 is a national program that’s filled with ways to learn more:

  • Cooking challenge: Share examples of how you’ve used food that’s almost past its prime by April 9 you could win $100!
  • Kids art contest: Kids from Kindergarten through 12th grade can design an ad to help people understand how reducing food waste protects our planet. Submit by April 22, 2024.
  • Get more tips: Follow @savethefoodweek on X or @foodwastepreventionweek on Facebook and Instagram to hear quick tips on how to make the most of your food.

Learn more ways to get involved in Food Waste Prevention Week 2024.