Save The Food: Take the 6-Week Challenge

A large pile of waste bread, fruits & vegetables.
Photo by The Guardian UK

In Vermont, food makes up about 26% of the stuff we put in our household trash.

Take 2016 as an example: When averaged out, Chittenden County households collectively trashed 161 pounds of food per person. This isn’t just a waste of food. Transporting all of that food to the landfill also wastes fuel (9,724 gallons of diesel), generates 108 tons of carbon dioxide, and puts a lot of extra wear and tear on the road to the landfill.

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the high cost of food waste on our community. Today, we’re challenging you to take a stand—however small it may seem—and challenge yourself to Save the Food.

We created three simple, totally achievable 6-week challenges for you to choose from. You can only choose one! And we will send you support, encouragement, and tips along the way. You can do anything for 6 weeks. We’ve got your back.

Save the Food

Waste of any kind is a design flaw; it’s a signal that there is room for improvement. Here are three ways you can improve your shopping, eating, or disposal habits to reduce your “food-print.” Just pick one, and run with it! We’ll send you a reminder in a couple of weeks to help you stay on track.

Take the challenge


Overhead view of woman with shopping cart browsing meat aisle in grocery store.
Photo by The Guardian UK

The challenge: Make a shopping list before you go to the grocery store.

It may seem like a no-brainer—and maybe that’s why so many of us forget to do it. Making a list can make you aware of the food you already have, help reduce the amount of food you buy (and potentially waste), and make sure that it’s actually food that people in your household will eat.

Over the next 6 weeks, take the time to make a list before you visit the grocery store, every time. Open your fridge and take inventory. Do you actually need to buy more carrots, or are some hidden in that crisper drawer you never open? What ingredients can you buy to work that spinach into a meal before it goes bad?

Make a list—and stick to it. If you shop for others, let them know you’ll only be buying food that’s on the list. If it’s not on the list before you leave, they’ll have to wait for it until your next trip.

Take the challenge


Bowl full of turkey salad.
Leftover turkey salad

The challenge: Eat all of the food in your fridge, before it goes bad.

For the purpose of this challenge, we’re calling everything in your fridge leftovers: From the spaghetti you made last night to the apples that are still in the bag after five days. Use this challenge as an opportunity to get creative with your food! Stir-frys and smoothies are great ways to incorporate food that may be close to expiring. Or open a web browser and type “leftover recipe.” You can find hundreds of recipes for just about any kind of leftover you can imagine! Maybe you’ll find a new favorite dish.

Take the challenge


The challenge: Collect your food scraps and spoiled food for composting.

Whether you decide to start a pile in your backyard, drop it off at a collection site, or have it picked up, composting can be an incredibly rewarding activity. Food scraps and other compostable material is packed with nutrients that—when broken down in a healthy compost pile—helps to improve the soil, reduce erosion, and mitigate stormwater runoff. When it comes to environmental benefits, there’s almost nothing that compost can’t do.

Take the challenge

Marketing & Communications Manager at CSWD
Jonny joined CSWD in 2014 after several years abroad where he ran websites, film projects, classrooms, and half marathons. Originally from Virginia, he was drawn to Vermont's strong sense of community, apple cider, and the search for Champ.