Food waste is one of the most important environmental issues that our world is facing today. In the US alone, 40 percent of all produced food is thrown away. An average American family will waste over two thousand dollars worth of food per year. So many resources are used up to produce food that these statistics are more than a little bit worrying. When we throw out food we are not only wasting money, but also  water, soil, energy and even farming space. Maybe you can’t do much to stop big chain stores from wasting produce. But you can make sure that your family gets to eat what you buy, by extending your food’s shelf life.

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1. The old paper towel trick

If you buy more carrots and lettuce than your family can consume quickly, you may have found that they become soggy after being stored in the fridge for a while. To help them retain their crispiness for longer, all you need is a paper towel. Store your carrots and lettuce on top of several layers of paper towels inside of your fridge. If your produce come sin a plastic bag, perforate the bag before putting it inside of the fridge, you shouldn’t be able to see any condensation inside the bag.

2. Don’t store everything in the fridge

Some fruits should always be kept at room temperature, not only because their life will not actually extend when stored in the fridge, but also because they might actually cause your other produce to go bad faster. Avocados, bananas, apricots, oranges, pears, melons, peaches, plums, tomatoes, kiwis, pineapples and nectarines should be kept outside of the fridge. This is because they produce ethylene gas, which causes nearby vegetables to spoil quicker.

3. Keep your fridge clean

Not only should you throw out food that has gone bad, you should also wipe down your fridge at least every week. Pay special attention to the veggie crisper or wherever you keep your vegetables. This is because bacteria built up on the fridge surfaces can help speed up the process of spoiling and make your veggies go bad faster.

4. Keep your onions away from the potaties

Some foods are not good friends. Onions and potatoes are sworn enemies. Even if both of these vegetables should be stored at room temperature, try your best not to store them right next to each other. This is because they give out a chemical that can make other produce spoil quicker, so this will significantly reduce their shelf life.

5. Choose your wrappings

Celery, green peppers and broccoli will keep for much longer if you keep them wrapped in tin foil inside your fridge. They will retain their crispiness and be just as delicious as the first day. Mushrooms, on the other hand, should be stored in a paper bag or wrap instead of plastic or foil.