It's the end of the school year. For many college students, this means it's time for one big transition: move out. As college students move out of their dorms or off-campus apartments, A LOT of stuff gets thrown out, one significant category being: food. Some is completely unopened, and could easily be returned to the store for a full refund. Others are bits and pieces of food which really should've been thrown out last year. As a foodie, I always believe it's important to see the other side of enjoying food. Foodie activities such as grocery shopping, eating out, baking, cooking are fun in the moment, but after, such a significant part of that gets wasted or ignored. Reflecting on the past 5 years of how much food waste I encountered, I wanted to publish my final Spoon article to provide you all with 5 tips to AVOID food waste at the end of the school year... or for life in general.  

1. Double the check expiration dates or if anything has gone bad 

Before you do anything with your leftover food, make sure you check if it is expired or if it has gone bad. Periodic (i.e. weekly) fridge clean outs are great ways to make sure your fridge doesn't smell weird, or contain anything that looks super moldy and gross. 

2. Compile your food remains together in one single location

If you see several jars of half-opened sauces (i.e. pasta sauce, soy sauce, salad dressing) in the fridge, combine them together in one single jar or one single container (obviously don't try to mix up the flavors too much). That way, you reduce the space in your fridge, and if you were to move the food to your new home, you don't need to carry multiple heavy containers of food.

3. Bring it to a friend (or someone you know) house 

If you are like myself and absolutely CANNOT stand the idea of food waste, find friends or family who will be around the area and bring them what YOU would still consider eating. College students and young folk are always complaining about being broke and not having time to get groceries, so start off your summer on a good note, and consider dropping off some of your leftover groceries to your friend (or family, colleague, partner etc).

4. Find food banks/community fridges near you 

Throughout my years at Northeastern, I had always donated my food to community fridges on Columbus Ave or Saint Stephens Street. NU Mutual Aid is a great way to find out more about how you can donate food on campus. 

You do not need to fly across the world to do community service- just look around your surroundings, and see how you can contribute. Donating food to community fridges and food banks near you are a good way to start.

5. Find dishes that involve using your leftover foods 

At least you could TRY to use up whatever foods are still left in your fridge. Think of what breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and drink ideas you could make without taking additional or minimal trips to the grocery store. 

Jenny Tungsubutra