6 Super-Duper Practical Ways For Parents To Cut Back On Food Waste

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Food waste is a big problem for families with small children, and it’s becoming even bigger. Places like Seattle have started fining residents if over 10% of their household waste is uneaten food, and food that winds up in the dumpster has an environmental cost as well as an economic one. What is there to do, besides force-feeding that neglected broccoli to your uninterested toddler?

National Geographic reported earlier this week that, on average in the USA, a four-person family sends half a ton of food to the landfill in a year: that’s close to $1500 of rotten tomatoes, mushy bananas, and “we’re totally going to eat more vegetables in this house, starting … any day now”. But what can parents do to make sure the food they buy doesn’t just end up going straight from fridge to garbage can, with or without a brief side trip across a toddler’s high chair tray? I have a few realistic and totally plausible ideas.

1. Goats

licky goat(via)

Goats will eat anything, even your one-year-old’s partially chewed granola bar plus the wrapper it came in. Works especially well if you have a yard, since Billy here can help keep the grass clipped.

2. Foraging

dumpster thief bear(via)

Why waste money at the grocery store when you can rustle up just the amount of food you need from your neighborhood? If cartoons have taught me anything, it’s that there are probably a dozen windowsills with fresh-baked pies on them in your immediate vicinity at this very moment. Add on neighborhood gardens, unguarded Halloween candy bowls, unlocked pizza delivery cars, and the occasional robin’s nest when you have a hankering for omelets, and you’ll never have to spend another penny at Kroger again!

3. Art supplies

aristocat painting


It might sound unsanitary, but your kids are going to use mashed potatoes, ketchup, and creamed spinach as finger-painting fodder anyway.

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