February Challenge: Food Waste

February Challenge: Food Waste - Happy Earth®

Total Points Available: 500 ($25 credit)

Q1 Theme: Sustainable Foodie

January: Earth-first Diet ☑

February: Minimizing Food Waste

March: Composting

the "WHY?"

The largest percentage of waste in the American food system occurs at homes, with 27 million tons of waste, or 43% of all waste. The average American throws away over a pound of food per day.

That pound of food has even heavier consequences. When food is wasted, it’s a drain on natural resources like the water, land, fertilizers, energy, gasoline, and labor necessary for making any meal. Between 2018 and 2019, 18% of US cropland and 14% of freshwater was dedicated to the production of uneaten food. Food takes up the most space of anything in landfills and generates about 7% of all GHGs.


For this month, we’ve compiled a list of 10 different challenges adapted from onethird’s food waste prevention guide. Some are good for beginners, and some kick it up a notch. Check off which ones you do this month, and whether you’ll implement into your regular routine.

1. BUY UGLY PRODUCE (+25 points)

Bonus: Share and tag @happyearth (+25 points)

We’re all picky shoppers – and that extends to food. Sometimes high quality food is thrown away simply because it doesn’t have the right look. Almost half the food grown in the US is thrown away because it can’t be sold. Some food delivery companies will even send you the produce that doesn’t aesthetically make the cut for grocery stores to help food waste. But you can also hunt for fruits and veggies in the market you think others will avoid. Snap a photo of your score!

2. SAVE LEFTOVERS (+25 points)

Bonus: Share and tag @happyearth (+25 points)

This may seem obvious, but many times we choose to scrap the excess food because in the moment its too much of a burden to package and store. But, those couple moments will save you time for a meal tomorrow! If it’s not something you’ll eat right away, try freezing it for the future.

3. DE-CLUTTER (+25 points)

Bonus: Share and tag @happyearth (+25 points)

You may not realize how often it is that you simply forget about items in your fridge, just to find them weeks later covered in mold. By keeping an organized fridge and pantry you’re much more likely to see your food and eat it! Organize your fridge and pantry, and snap a photo of its new fresh look.


Bonus: Share and tag @happyearth (+25 points)

This piggy-backs on reorganizing – a fun way to ace two challenges in one go! It’s easy to forget what’s in your fridge. Keep foods nearing expiration and recent leftovers in a designated area on the top shelf of your fridge. That way when you’re looking for something to eat, you have a place to check first!

5. LEARN TO PRESERVE (+25 points)

Bonus: Share and tag @happyearth (+25 points)

There are numerous ways you can preserve food for it to last longer. Many are simple to implement and can offer interesting new ways to explore favorite eats. Let us know which one you try this month:
• Dehydrating
• Freezing
• Pickling in vinegar
• Immersing in olive oil

6. MAKE A STOCK (+25 points)

Bonus: Share and tag @happyearth (+25 points)

Don’t toss those stalks, tops, and peels – they can help make a rich base for soups, stews, and sauces. Every time you meal prep, throw your vegetable scraps into a bag in the freezer until you have enough for a batch of broth. There’s no rules to what you can or cannot use (add some herbs, and oil if you like!). Place everything into a large stock pot, add water, boil, and simmer covered for 1hr. Strain out the scraps! Use it soon, or freeze in small portions for later.

7. MAKE A SMOOTHIE (+25 points)

Bonus: Share and tag @happyearth (+25 points)

We tend to throw away parts of fruit and vegetables that we think are inedible and scrap any bruises or mushy parts we see. However, these can actually be some of the more nutrient and fiber-rich portions of our produce. Instead of trashing them, collect what you don’t want to eat and toss them into a blender to round out a smoothie (or freeze them for later).

8. MAKE A LIST... AND EAT FIRST (+25 points)

Bonus: Share and tag @happyearth (+25 points)

When we’re hungry, we want to devour everything in sight. This often leads to overbuying. One study showed that hungry shoppers bought an average of 46% more high-calorie products than those that ate just before shopping. Make a list, and stick to it! If you buy additional items, make sure you schedule them into your meal preps for the week.


Bonus: Share and tag @happyearth (+25 points)

The dates you see on food labels are not usually related to food spoilage. Instead, the dates tell you how long food maintains the best taste and texture. The USDA has created an app, FoodKeeper, just for this purpose! Using it can help answer the questions you have about the food in your fridge and pantry.

10. RECORD YOUR TRASH FOR A DAY (+25 points)

Bonus: Share and tag @happyearth (+25 points)

Much of the food waste problem is because we don’t even realize it happening. By keeping a log of what food you throw away, you can then have a starting point in finding alternative uses for those food items. This challenge will be a great way to start thinking about next month’s challenge of composting! Don’t be afraid, we’ve adapted the challenge to fit different living arrangements.

Let us know what other things you’ve done to limit food waste! Do you use orange peels as a cleaner? Make bread crumbs from stale bread? Fertilize plants with coffee grounds? Make apple cider vinegar from fermenting apple peels? We want to hear your favorite low-waste hacks.

We’ve attached social templates that you can use to share each challenge you take on. Remember to tag us!

the GOAL:

Find new, fun, accessible ways to reduce food waste! Hopefully some of these carry on past this month’s challenge.


For every one of the 10 challenges you complete, you’ll be awarded 25 points! At the end of the month, upload your checklist and include a photo of each task.

If you post your challenges on social, we’ll double the points! Download our story and post templates below so you can easily share your progress throughout the month – or share your own personal reels! Remember to tag @happyearth