The United States, which may follow Ireland and the UK in banning plastic straws, wastes as much as $161 billion of food every day. This was reported by Green Matters on August 6. The billions of dollars wasted equals approximately 133 billion pounds of food, according to the USDA and the Insider. As roughly 40 percent of food purchased goes uneaten and gets treated as waste, there are people who are also struggling to get enough to eat.

The estimate is that one in eight people in America has difficulty putting food on the table, the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) noted.

Coincidentally, IHOP temporarily changed its name.

Below are five steps that everyone can take in an effort to reduce the level of food waste.

1. Plan meals ahead of time, make a shopping list

One cause for tossing food out is that many people do not make a meal plan and stick with it. Going shopping without an idea of how products purchased will be used for making meals also subjects that food to becoming waste. Make a shopping list for reference when purchasing items. A list of items to buy, and knowing how the products will be used for meals, will also mean having what is needed on hand when you are ready to put the food to use.

2. Store leftover food properly

Rather than throw away food that is left over after meals, store it in the refrigerator or freezer, also making sure to wrap or seal the food properly.

Green Matters noted that improper storage makes the food prone to waste “within the fridge.” See-through storage is suggested so that the sealed food does not have to be unwrapped or unsealed to know what it is.

3. Host a party or a pot luck

If there is food in the refrigerator or freezer nearing expiration, instead of letting it go to waste, throw a party or pot luck.

Invite friends, family, neighbors, or even co-workers for a get-together, which also encourages the use of their food. Many people have heard the phrase: Caring is sharing. When it comes to sharing, the meals also feed the mind and body while connecting with others.

4. Freeze, with the first in and out rule in mind

Before adding food to your freezer, take out food stored first and set it aside.

Set more recently stored food in the back of the freezer so that it lasts longer. By arranging the food from oldest to newest, it will automatically lead to last in, first out, when items are removed and used from the freezer. The plan lessens the possibility that the food will go to waste.

5. Donate excess fruit from trees and garden vegetables

If you have an abundance of fruit or vegetables, and cannot possibly consume everything, contact a local food bank, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen to donate the fruit and veggies. Many facilities will welcome your generosity and the food items.