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, DEQ research 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 created the
Bad Apple campaign to inspire households to reduce the amount of food they throw away at home.
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
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.
All tips and resources are available at Don't Let Good Food Go Bad.
Reducing food waste matters to DEQ because an estimated 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.
This effort builds on the work of many organizations across the state, including local governments, non-profits and businesses committed to reducing food waste.