GOOD

Spring Cleaning: Fresh Start for Your Fridge

When in doubt, throw it out.


This challenge is in partnership with Levi's ®

All hail that life-sustaining shrine, the refrigerator. But have you truly paid homage lately? Make sure the goodies within aren’t outnumbered by food that's gone bad. While you’re cleaning, double check that your fridge is a testament to earth-friendly living as well.


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  • The food you buy doesn’t appear in your grocery store out of thin air--every morsel has required the use of vital resources, such as water. Consider your consumption when you buy the foods you love. You can be water-conscious at breakfast, for example, by having a slice of toast (about 11 gallons) rather than an egg (about 53 gallons). For further reference, the Water Footprint Network breaks downwater amounts for many of our most common staples. When choosing meat, remember that lamb and steak have the highest carbon footprint. Chicken and fish use less, or you could go full veggie.
  • The Center for Disease Control estimatesthat foodborne illnesses cause more than 127,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths per year. When in doubt, throw it out! Keep your fridge at 40 degrees or below and your freezer at 0 degrees at all times to protect from foodborne illnesses. Anything encased in ice needs to go, though a little freezer burn never hurt anyone. Eggs are good for three to five weeks, cheese can be good for three to four weeks, and cold cuts should always be eaten as soon as possible, definitely within a week. Fish should be eaten within two days of purchase, and any leftovers for cooked foods shouldn’t hang around in the fridge for more than five days. It’s a good idea to label your frozen food so you know exactly how old it is, and eat the older products first.
  • Don't have baking soda? An easy way to get rid of an odor in your fruit or vegetable drawers is to crumple up a brown bag and place it in the drawer for a couple of days. Smells should be absorbed by the paper.
  • Replace your old fridge with an energy-saving model. Refrigerators with an Energy Star label use 20 percent less energy than those without it, a savings that is eco-friendly and wallet-friendly.
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Photovia (cc) Flickr user tychay.

To learn more about how you can save water every day, click here and take the Water<Less Challenge.



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