Ten Steps to Prevent Wasted Food

Moldy bread? Soggy carrots? Not in my fridge!

Composting is a great way to reduce food waste, but it’s even better to eat the food we purchase than to compost it. Preventing wasted food is not only better for the environment, but it can save the average Saint Paul household up to $96 per month.

Get started with these 10 easy tips and tools created to help you reduce waste, save money, and be kinder to the environment, too.

Download a printable PDF of these tips.

**Even when the steps are simple, changing habits can be challenging. Think about enlisting a friend or some neighbors for support and encouragement! Learn about the benefits of preventing wasted food! so you can recruit an enthusiastic team! (And let us know how it goes!)

grocery receipt

Keep your food receipts and use this handy tracking sheet to see exactly how much food you’re throwing away or composting—and just how much money you’re throwing away, too. Use the tools below to get started, and see if you notice any trends after a few weeks! 

Download a tracking sheet
Watch a video: How to Start Tracking Wasted Food

Use it up box

Those almost-wilting greens, that last bit of cheese…it can be easier to use them up if they are more visible! Create a reminder box to collect the things that need eating up soon, so you and others in your household know what to reach for to make a meal or find a snack.

Download a "Use it Up" sign to make your own box in your fridge
Watch a video about how to get the most out of your fridge

Before you shop, determine what you really need by using this guide to take an inventory of your fridge, pantry, and freezer.

Download a Pantry Inventory worksheet 
Download Refrigerator Inventory worksheet 
Download a Freezer Inventory worksheet 

Our handy meal planning tool can help you save time and money, and reduce food waste.

Learn how to meal plan with our on-line meal-planning tool
Download a printable meal planner

herbs in water

Did you know that storing greens in an airtight container with a wet paper towel can make them last weeks longer? Check out our guides for more tips like this for making your food last.

Learn how to better store food with our A-Z food storage guide web tool
Download our A-Z food storage guide 
Check out our A-Z quick reference guide
Watch this video about some of our favorite food storage tips

Glass jars in pantry

While plastic may seem like an easy food storage solution for the freezer or refrigerator, plastics are made with many harmful chemicals that can make their way into our food and bodies, and there are much safer alternatives!

Learn more about toxicity and human health impacts of  plastics

full fridge

Every once in a while it’s time to do the deep clean out of the fridge! When you do, use this tracking tool to see what you’re tossing into the compost or garbage and to help you plan better for next time. For example, after tracking what kinds of spoiled food you find, you can look up food storage tips for the items that are going to waste.

Learn how to keep food edible longer with our A-Z food storage guide

canned food

Learn how to use easy, long-term food storage options to make your food last longer.  

Learn how to dry, can, freeze, and store foods


Use Google or Epicurious to search for the ingredients you have on hand or left over and turn them into great meals.

Watch videos of Eureka staff share their favorite “use-it-up” recipes.

Some foods will always have scraps, like oranges and bananas. When you do create food waste, learn how you can turn it into nutrient-rich soil at home!

Learn about backyard and worm composting
Download our factsheet about backyard composting
Download our factsheet about worm composting