4 Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste

It’s the New Year, our favorite time for goal-setting, making positive resolutions, and shifting our impact. One of the Co-op’s goals is to become a Zero Waste facility. Our staff works to divert as much food waste as we can - and we hope our member-owners will join us in this goal too.

According to the National Resource Defense Council, the average American household of four is throwing away $120 each month in the form of uneaten food. And each one of us - consumers - are the largest source of food waste, more than grocery stores and restaurants combined. But there's good news: we can do something about it.

Shop Your Fridge First

Make a resolution to your refrigerator to shop at home first. How many of us open the door, take a glance, then shut the door and forget about the delicious produce on the back shelf, just waiting to be prepped? Write a reminder to yourself and put it on the front of your refrigerator: “Shop Here First!”

Create a noticeable “Eat First” area inside your fridge with brightly colored tape or washable markers. Commit to two weeks of cooking or eating what you already have at home before buying more. Make sure to check the impact on your wallet, too.

Befriend Your Freezer

One of the best tools that you already have at home is your freezer. Almost any food can be frozen and safely stored for later. Especially if you’re about to take a vacation!

A little prep can go a long way if you freeze in meal-size portions. Remember to keep food airtight, while also leaving room for expanding liquids. Using clear containers and labeling with contents and a date will save you from questionable frozen items that you discover in the future.

Create a Food Inventory

Take a month to inventory your meals, including your shopping list. This is a great exercise and resolution to start off the new year. Use a journal or planner to document your daily meals and your shopping lists, including the costs.

Be mindful about how your diet may change throughout the week. Maybe you’re celebrating a birthday at your friend’s favorite restaurant, out on a date, attending a potluck, or getting a bite to eat at work. You may be surprised at how many times you eat out, or how much you end up spending on snacks rather than a nutritious dinner.

AFC bulk beans and grains

Buy in Bulk

Commit to buying a new staple item in bulk. For packaged goods, not only are you buying the product, but you’re also buying the carton. 

Choose a new loose-leaf tea, spice, grain, flour, oil, legume, or even food for your dog or cat to purchase in bulk. Try out a conditioner, shampoo, or soap in the Wellness department. Bring in a reusable container and measure the tare weight in our Bulk department - then see for yourself how one change in packaging can affect the price.


The benefits of choosing four food waste resolutions are great for your bank account, your refrigerator, your health, and your carbon footprint. Together we can create a more sustainable and abundant lifestyle, and change that 40% of food waste into a zero waste dinner table.

More Co-op News

Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen

By Mahlea Rasmussen, Education Coordinator

Outside of work I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I find it a soothing space to create nourishing meals and lasting memories. I find it essential to be as eco-friendly as possible and a few changes can transform your kitchen into a sustainable center of your home.

Earth Day Bulk Sale! April 17-21

Save money while working towards a more sustainable shopping experience! The Co-op bulk department is a great "first stop" for your grocery lists - everything from hummus mix to local honey to pet food is available. Plus there's less waste, all the way from shipping to ended up in your shopping cart. 

Check out a quick tour below:

Film festival giveaway

Enter your name and email below to be entered to win two film vouchers for the 2019 Ashland Independent Film Festival.

No purchase necessary. Giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by AIFF. US residents only. Entry will be closed at 5pm PT on Monday, April 15.

The state of plastics

Many Co-op owners and shoppers have shared their interest in reducing plastic usage in the store. From bioplastics, to compostable plastics to recycling options, the Ashland Food Co-op continues to research what works best as we move towards our goal of being a zero waste store. Here is where we stand.

Food waste at the Co-op

By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator

How many times in the past month have you reached back in the fridge to snack on some fresh strawberries only to discover… mold?! In the United States, 40% of food is wasted every year. Luckily, how we address food waste can have a major impact. According to Paul Hawkin’s Drawdown, reducing food waste is #3 on the list of best ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the Co-op, we use the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy as a guide to bettering our own practices.

Wellness Secret Weapons

There are still plenty of colds and viruses making their rounds, and we want to help you better defend against them!

In January, we asked on social media what kind of secret weapons you use in the winter to stay healthy. We had a lot of responses, so we'll start with the All-Stars.

With your initial recommendations, our Wellness team reviewed the suggestions and picked the products with the highest quality standards and best feedback. Check those out below.


Mushrooms for wellness

You may have heard about the fascinating discovery that trees can communicate with each other. What’s the secret? The mycelia - tiny strands of fungus - in the soil form a vast underground network through which trees send chemical signals to their neighbors.

The mycelia differs from the fruiting body of the mushroom, which is the reproductive component that contains spores and is thought to be higher in Beta Glucans.

What to do with all this citrus?!

So you grabbed a few too many extra oranges and grapefruits and lemons (and some finger limes, and some satsumas…), and rather than watch them go bad, we want to provide you with some ideas on how to reduce waste. You’ll also get to enjoy citrus in a lot of new ways!

There are many guides and recipes across the internet (like this one by our friends at Grow Forage Cook Ferment), so here are a few ideas to get your creative and citrus juices flowing.

Update from the General Manager: "Food for Paradise" campaign

Ashland Food Co-op's General Manager, Emile Amarotico, ends 2018 on a very uplifting note with a report back on the "Food for Paradise" donation campaign. Watch the video below, or read on for an extended written update.

Hello, this is Emile Amarotico, the general manager of Ashland Food Co-op with an update on the Co-op’s Food for Paradise initiative.

5 Fresh Ways to Save at the Co-op

We’ve all been there: your bank account is looking thin after a month of celebrations, but you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to save up for a big purchase later in the year

Now’s the time to make some changes to your spending - but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality goods at the Ashland Food Co-op.

These are some lesser known ways to save at the Co-op. Think of them like ordering off the secret menu. 

Savings Level: $