It’s estimated that over $1 billion worth of food is wasted annually in Hawaii and on Oahu alone, roughly 15% of residential garbage is food, which equates to 425 pounds of food waste per household every year according to the Department of Environmental Services. Hawaii residents throw away about one quarter of all food and beverage purchases, making food waste a huge problem for our state. With 85-90% of Hawaii’s food imported, we’re particularly vulnerable to natural disasters or other events that could disrupt shipping and food supply.

Decreasing the unnecessary consumption of food products will also help decrease the chance for litter like food packaging from ending up in our storm drains or waterways. To reduce food waste, here are some tips to keep your food fresh for longer.

1. Freeze your milk.
Milk is an item that many of us let go bad. Sometimes we just can’t use the entire gallon before it expires. If this is a problem you face, it might be time to start freezing your milk. Keep some in the refrigerator for immediate use, but pour the rest into a container or jar and stick it in the freezer. Milk can stay fresh in the freezer for up to six weeks. Simply move it to the refrigerator when you’re ready for more! This tip works for sauces and soups, too!

2. Wrap your lettuce.
Do you find your lettuce wilting after just a few days? Try wrapping it in a paper towel or cloth to absorb any excess moisture, which will help to keep your lettuce crisp. If you do notice a little bit of wilting, you can revive your lettuce by shocking it in a bath of ice water for about five minutes.

3. Store dairy products upside down.
Did you know your cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt will stay fresh for twice as long if you keep them in your fridge upside down? That’s right! When you put these products upside down, you create a vacuum effect inside of their containers that prevents the growth of bacteria.

4. Keep green onions and other herbs in glass of water.
Green onions and herbs that are kept in water will stay fresh longer. Some herbs, like green onions, will even continue to grow! Just place your onions—roots and all—in a cup filled with a couple inches of water and cut them as needed. For herbs like mint, parsley, and basil, clip a tiny portion off the bottom of their stems and put them in a cup or jar with a little bit of water.

5. Store onions and potatoes in the dark.
Potatoes and onions can be kept for long periods of time as long as they’re stored properly. Potatoes and onions should be kept apart because when they are kept together, they create gases that cause them to spoil faster. They should also be stored in a cool and dark place, like inside of a well-ventilated box, container, or bag.

6. Store bread in a wooden box.
Bread should be taken out of the plastic bag it comes in, and placed in a cool dark place. Its original bag will prevent airflow, which will keep moisture in. This creates a perfect environment for mold to grow. If you can’t use all of your bread in a few days, freeze it! When you’re ready to use it, you can put it in the toaster or microwave to defrost.

Sources: Department of Environmental Services, Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism, Bright Side, Eat Right Food Network, Food & Wine, The Bread Guide