By Noah Kaufman
Updated February 04, 2015
Credit: Courtesy of Greenling

The amount of wasted food in the United States is represented in a lot of different ways—35 million tons, $165 billion, 40 percent of all food sold—all of them staggering. It might seem like a problem too big for any of us to actually help solve, but a simple little container claims to extend the life of our fruits and vegetables by three times, long enough that we hopefully won’t have to throw as many of them away.

Green Hearts works to cut down on something most of us don’t even know ruins our food. According to its creators, the three things that contribute to spoiled produce are humidity, temperature and ethylene gas. Ethylene is a colorless, odorless gas that fruits and vegetables give off. It causes them to become soft, wilted, eventually moldy and completely inedible. Our refrigerators do a good job of controlling for both temperature and humidity, but ethylene has remained fruits' silent killer. Green Hearts are loaded up with a compound that absorbs and neutralizes ethylene. You’ll be able to just stick them in the fridge and forget about them for three months, when you need to refill them.

This isn’t the first time someone has tried to make a product to neutralize ethylene, but the folks at Green Hearts have a few things going for them: Their container is BPA-free and their compounds are organic-certified, so it’s a more natural solution than earlier incarnations of these products, and they promise you a full refund if your food starts going bad. It’s also entirely made in the United States, so we Americans can feel good about that

They’re running a Kickstarter right now, and you can pick up a pair of hearts for $9.

It’s an incredibly simple idea, but sometimes you don’t need a complicated gadget to solve a big problem.