Stay one step ahead of New York’s compost law with these 4 tips to reduce waste

ROME, ITALY - 2023/01/31: Anna Safroncik attends the "Dispensa stellata" event show cooking to bring cotechino and zampone Modena IGP back to the table at Palazzo Ripetta. (Photo by Mario Cartelli/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - 2023/01/31: Anna Safroncik attends the "Dispensa stellata" event show cooking to bring cotechino and zampone Modena IGP back to the table at Palazzo Ripetta. (Photo by Mario Cartelli/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

As people around the world work to lessen the impact of climate change, it’s important to look around us for ways we can reduce waste — including within New York.

Pollution and climate change cause a myriad of problems to the planet and human health. Research shows that pollution can cause respiratory issues, hormonal changes in women and increases the risk of premature death. Without a healthy earth, humanity can’t thrive.

New York’s Updated Compost Rules

New York has made many changes in an effort to reduce waste in the state. New York City provides compost bins in many areas to eliminate the amount of organic waste releasing carbon into the atmosphere.

At the start of 2023, legislators passed a new compost law in New York legalizing human composting. Part of a recent push for more sustainable forms of burial, human composting is an excellent way to nurture the earth with minimal waste and carbon output.

However, this law is unlikely to solve the state’s environmental problems. Food makes up around 18% of all waste in New York. While programs exist to minimize the carbon impact of food throughout the state, copious amounts sit in landfills and release methane gas into the atmosphere.

4 Ways to Reduce Waste

If you choose compost as your body’s post-death solution, you can serve the environment. However, you don’t have to wait until then to nurture the environment. Here are four ways to reduce food waste.

1. Keep Food Fresh
Fresh produce accounts for the majority of food waste in the U.S. Shoppers love the look of produce on the shelves but often forget to use it before it goes bad.

With some research, shoppers can store food to keep it fresh for as long as possible, buying them more time to eat or cook with it. For example, you can keep carrots and celery fresh by storing them in water. Potatoes last longer in a dry, dark environment, while you can swaddle your herbs in a moist paper towel.

If your food starts going bad, you can often still use it. Nearly 70% of New York City’s food waste is still edible when thrown out. If you have food on the verge of going bad, such as bananas or squash, you can often freeze it for smoothies, add it to a soup or can it for future use.

When you keep up with the food you have, you’ll go to the store less, eat the things you buy before purchasing new ones and reduce your contribution to statewide food waste.

2. Meal Prep
Preparing your meal ingredients ahead of time can save time and money while preserving the environment.

Sit down with your family before shopping and decide what you’ll eat during the week. Once you know what recipes you want to make, make a list of all the ingredients you need, and check what you already have so you don’t end up duplicates.

When you get home with your ingredients, go ahead and prepare them. Cutting, chopping and storing your fruit, vegetables and herbs ahead of time means you’ll be more likely to use them for the recipe. Food waste often comes from not wanting to cook when the time comes. If the prep work is already done, it’s much easier to find the motivation to cook after a long day.

3. Use Too Good To Go’s Knowledge Hub
The more educated you are on a topic, the more likely you’ll make smart decisions around it. Too Good To Go powers the top application for fighting food waste globally. It works to connect its users with retailers to distribute the food that would otherwise be thrown out.

You can get local food from local grocers, pizzerias, bakeries and more at a discounted rate. Each surprise bag saves 5.5 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere via landfills.

Using the Knowledge Hub, you can learn more about the causes of food waste and what you can do to prevent it. The platform has easy-to-read articles that tell you everything you need to know about the issues and how you can help.

4. Help Restaurants by Ordering Less
If you know you can’t finish a plate at your favorite restaurant and won’t eat the leftovers, you can help reduce food waste by requesting a smaller portion. Most eateries will accommodate the request, letting you enjoy your favorite dishes while preventing unnecessary waste.

You can ask for a to-go box for leftovers you want and enjoy the rest of the portion later. Better yet, bring your reusable container to store the food in until you’re ready to re-plate it. If you’re going out with friends, family or colleagues, you might inspire them also to make these changes.

Helping Reduce New York Waste

Whether you’re a resident or visitor, you can use these tips to reduce waste in the Empire State. When you make smart food choices, you help pave the way for a more sustainable future.

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