If you’re living in an apartment or house and sharing a refrigerator with three, four, or maybe even five other people, keeping your food organized can be a bit of a challenge. Sharing food can be complicated, so everyone buys their own milk, eggs, bread, cereal, and so on. But is this really the most efficient way to use everyone’s money? How often do you finish your quart of 2% milk before it expires in the fridge next to your other roommates’ separate, yet identical, quarts of milk? How often have you come across the last half of your forgotten loaf of bread that had turned stale, or worse, moldy, because it was behind your roommates’ 12 grain? What can you do with sour milk and moldy bread? You can’t eat them, you can’t really cook with them, and unless you have an industrial sized compost pile, you can’t compost it either. Trash can it is.
Studies show that American households waste 25% of the food they buy each year. That’s a lot. During your time in college, you aren’t necessarily a typical household, so while these numbers might not be as accurate for you, food waste still affects you (and I’d argue even more so!). Food waste isn’t just about the wasted food, though. Every bit of food that goes to waste is the same as the money you spent on it going into the trash. Money is hard to come by as a college student, and even more difficult to keep – why throw it away?
There are better ways to manage your money and your food in a communal living situation. Everyone has their preferences, and no one is asking you to share everything, but you should talk with your roommates about going in together on the staples that you all enjoy. Sharing is caring, and sustainable! For your wallet and the environment!