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You’ve stocked the fridge with a week’s worth of fresh veggies, but the day got away and you opted for takeout instead. Flash forward one week later and you’re faced with a surplus of food about to spoil. We’ve all been there.

In fact, more than 5.4 million square miles of land — an expanse greater than the U.S., India, and Mexico combined — are used to produce food that’s wasted. Each square mile represents not only wasted food, but needless pollution.

In 2015 the EPA estimated that food was the number one material reaching landfills, representing 22 percent of total waste. These food-filled landfills account for 20 percent of total U.S. methane emissions. Diverting wasted food directly helps limit these emissions.

There are many reasons as much as 40 percent of our food supply goes to waste. It isn’t just a restaurant or household problem. Both retail and consumer levels accounted for roughly 133 billion pounds, and $161 billion worth of food waste in 2010.

Knowing that food waste had become a legitimate environmental threat, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the EPA announced the first ever domestic goal aimed at reducing food loss and waste by 50 percent by the year 2030. Through this initiative, the federal government is looking to work alongside communities, businesses, organizations, and individuals committed to see food waste decreased.

Eliminating food waste will lead to less waste in landfills and fewer methane emissions. Each of us can help make a difference to reach this goal. Here are a few steps you can take to help you cut out food waste — turning you into a leading advocate for a cleaner environment.

Three quick ways to help eliminate food waste today

1. Use your freezer

Sometimes we buy more than we really need. It happens, and that’s ok.Most things can be frozen, helping extend it’s usability far beyond the shelf.

Get the full guide for what to freeze, and how long it will last here.

2. Never, ever, throw away your scraps

Use your scraps for soup stocks or purees. Everything you cut, peel, or pull off your veggies can be used in a stock. What are stocks good for? A lot!

3. Compost

Anything you can’t use can go to compost. Compost is organic material that can be used to help feed healthier gardens and green landscapes. Composting is a great way to divert your food waste from methane releasing landfills.

Get started with your own home compost, or look for a local composter you can send your scraps to.

Making sustainability a priority in your home is easy. From cutting down food waste to choosing clean energy, there are many easy ways to make an impact. You just need to take the first step.

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