By Jessica Domel

A lemon here. Half a pizza there. A banana somewhere in between. Have you ever stopped to think about how much food is wasted in your household each year? It might be more than you think.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans waste between 30 and 40 percent of the food supply. Imagine what could happen if we take that number and reduce by half. How many more hungry families would we be able to feed?

Think of the money you could save.

Consider the resources that it takes to transport food, packaging and other trash to the landfill. Those resources could be better spent benefiting the community.

I’ve thought of several ways we can work together to reduce our food waste.

1) Buy smart. Don’t buy produce or other food items you know you won’t eat. If you’re not going to eat two pounds of bananas in a week, try buying a smaller bundle. You’ll save money and reduce waste.

2) Meal plan. Once a week and write down what you hope to cook for the next few days. Sticking to a list can curb unnecessary buying and waste.

3) Store your food properly. Ensure everything that goes into your refrigerator or freezer is well sealed to prevent premature spoilage.

4) Donate. Find a can of soup or vegetables you’re never going to eat? If it’s still good, consider donating it, and possibly your time, to a local food bank or charity organization.

5) Recycle. If you can, compost food that has spoiled, so it hasn’t gone to waste for nothing.

We may not be able to do everything all the time, but surely we can do most things some of the time.

Challenge yourself. Take one step today to reduce your own food waste, even if it’s just sharing a banana with a friend.