It makes me absolutely crazy when I hear how much good food regularly gets tossed out. A 2012 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council estimated that America discards up to 40 percent of its food, or about 20 pounds per person per month; the study notes that it's basically "Farm to Fork to Landfill." If you crunch the numbers, a family of four might easily chuck more than $1,500 worth of food per year.
My motto this year is "Don't Throw That Out." Several smart chefs and food professionals are way ahead of me. Check out what they're doing.
Daily Table; Dorchester, MA
This grocery store, which is scheduled to open in early 2014, will offer at low prices food that's past its sell-by date and produce that's cosmetically blemished. The project, from a former Trader Joe's president, Doug Rauch, will also sell prepared foods made with excess ingredients from other grocery stores. At Direct Table, gallons of milk will go for as low as $1, and loaves of whole-grain bread for between 50 and 75 cents. Rauch argues that expired food can be perfectly safe: "I've been in the grocery industry since the early '70s—most products didn't have a sell-by date back then. In the old days, you'd smell the milk; it smelled good or smelled bad. Virtually all of the known food-related deaths in America have been caused by food that was in code."