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Reducing food waste starts at the grocery store…with a little help from plastic

Food waste is a major issue for our environment, and for our families. According to the USDA up to 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten. While most surveyed Americans (91 percent!) say preventing food waste in their homes is “very important” many of us are not aware of how plastics help prevent it. Our Plastics Make it Possible® campaign recently spent time with one busy family to get their take on food waste—and how plastics help prevent it.

Packed w Love Shakti and MomFor Shakti Shukla, preventing food waste is important for many reasons. Shakti’s family comes from India, where her family cultivated the food that they ate. So Shakti was raised with a clear understanding that food is precious and not to be wasted. And, as a mom of three young children, the last thing she has time for is making multiple trips to the grocery store every week. For both these reasons, when she does make it to the store, she looks for groceries in plastic packaging.

There’s a reason you see more food in plastic packaging today. That package was designed specifically to help protect the product it contains, whether it be produce, meat, dairy, or prepared food. Take the groceries in Shakti’s cart as an example:

  • The cucumbers she buys for heathy snacks for her family come wrapped in just a little plastic, which helps extend their shelf life from a few days to more than a week.
  • The berries for breakfast come in a plastic clamshell designed to limit the amount of moisture in the package. Too much moisture and those berries won’t stay fresh for long.
  • The condiments for hot dog night come in plastic squeeze bottles designed to give us more control when putting mustard on our dogs—and if the bottle falls on the floor, it won’t break.

Packed w Love RefrigeratorAnd when you’ve finished the food, the plastic package often can be recycled. (Here are some quick tips on recycling plastics; you can also check with your municipality to learn what can and cannot be recycled in your area.)

Whether your reason for wanting to prevent food waste is more principled or more practical—or both, like Shakti’s—plastics can help you get there.

To hear more from Shakti, including some of her recipes, or to learn more about preventing food waste, click here.

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