101: Reducing Food Waste Using a Microwave

This is how my Microwave Reduces Food Waste

For years, I was actually quite worried about the amount of food me and my family wasted. That was until we bought a microwave. You might not understand that impact on food waste until you got home. Seriously, I have probably read every single article online about food waste, but very few even mention this “hack”.

Prior to writing this article, I read some statistics about food waste. In order to write something that is valuable for the reader (yes, for you…), I needed to fully understand the concept of food waste. And I found out that around 80 % of everything that is being thrown out is so-called hot food. In other words, it is your dinner. Those numbers will of course only include food waste from consumers like me and you. Not from the big grocery stores or restaurants – they have their own problems to worry about.

But when we know that 80 % of all food waste is related to dinners that once have been warm, I asked myself:

“Is it really because we look at food that just went from hot to cold as trash?”.

In my mind, it was quite obvious that it was a device that would be able to re-heat the food. It is called a microwave.

101: Reducing  Food Waste  Using a Microwave

Table of Contents

The best microwave

I am not going to lecture you about which microwave you should buy, but as I have recently bought one I really wanted to share my experiences. This is something I very often do when I buy eco-friendly products. Not to promote any products that are produced by companies I am affiliated with, but because I want to help other people to make their homes more environmentally friendly.

I really hope that you are convinced that a microwave can reduce your food waste at home. Because it will. Then it just comes down to the question:

“which microwave should I buy?”

I will help you answer that question straight away.

Top 3 microwaves on the market:

Please note that I bought another microwave offline and that neither of those products listed below is anything that I bought myself. However, prior to purchasing my microwave, I did an awful lot of research. So I am quite educated in things like:

– What features do you really need? And more importantly: what don’t you need?
– What should a microwave cost?
– How much electricity does it use?
– And so on.

In other words: I want to play with open cards here. As I bought my microwave offline, it was none of these three below-mentioned products. However, it could have been as I will approve every single one of them and label them as “very good”.

#1: Westinghouse WCM770SS Microwave

This is probably the best option I found out there. The question probably is: do you want a

Westinghouse WCM770SS. Seems like an excellent choice. Affordable and got all basic functions.

microwave that can work as a “mini oven” with 1000000 different features or do you want a small, cheap microwave to reheat your food?

Because this product is mainly meant to give you the most basic functions. It can reheat your food, make you popcorn and unfreeze chicken that has been laying in the freezer.

This model from Westinghouse cannot be described as anything fancy.

You don’t need more than that. And the microwave is pretty cheap as well.

“Cool” features: LED screen, child look function & 10 cooking power levels (which is a lot for a microwave).

Price: You can check the current price on Amazon here.

#2: Farberware FMWO11AHTBKB

Another good option. It costs slightly more than Westinghouse, but it also got some better

Farberware. Solid microwave with a lot of interesting features.


Everything seems to be good. The reviews on Amazon, the one year warranty from the manufacturer and the fact that you can really easily adjust the heat inside the microwave. Some microwaves can be a bit difficult like that. Most ovens often tend to only offer three or four “heating stages”, which can make it difficult to adjust to the exact right temperature. This microwave from Farberware (oh, I sounds like a salesperson now, haha) will actually offer 10 “heating stages”.

That is quite remarkable.

Other “cool” features: One touch cooking functions for various normal microwave products (popcorn, pizza, frozen vegetables), removable rotating glass turntable & LED display with clock and kitchen timer.

Price: You can check the current price on Amazon here.

#3: Westinghouse WM009

This is another model from Westinghouse. It got more or less the same functions as #1,

Westinghouse, WM009. Nice, small microwave that got all the basic functions.

but it is slightly more advanced and smaller in size.

In addition to having everything that WCM770SS can offer, it is also made from stainless steel and got a convenient auto weight. These features are, according to the description on Amazon, something that will “make you feel like a professional chef in your kitchen”. Interesting.

Overall, this is a very good, simple and nice microwave that will probably best fit if you don’t want it to take up too much space in your kitchen.

“Cool” features worth mentioning: Child safety lock, 10 cooking levels, stainless steel, really neat design.

Price: You can check the current price on Amazon here.

Why these three microwaves?

Overcomplicating things is not a very good thing. When you recommend something, you should be pretty straight forward. And buying a microwave is not exactly like buying a new car or a house. It is a pretty small investment in comparison with a lot of other products you can buy.

So all these microwaves, as you can see, are pretty affordable. They also have a function or several functions to handle different types of reheating. In other words, it is quite different to reheat a pizza versus a macaroni dish. Your top concern if you want to buy a microwave to reduce food waste should be:

does this microwave really help me in reducing food waste?

And with those functions, it does.

Another thing is price. You don’t want to waste a lot of money in order to buy a “smart oven” (that’s what they call fancy microwaves) with 1 million functions that you will never use. Waste of time and money.

Dinner dishes perfect for the microwave

There are some dishes that fit better as “microwave leftovers” than others. Before I start to list all the meals that suit, I have a very simple rule: if the food is easy to make, it is probably also very good to re-heat the next day.

1. Nachos.

The one and only. Not because I love Mexican food (and I do!), but it is like the nacho chips are almost getting crispier and tender the next day. I usually make nachos very simple. Chicken, cheese and chips in the oven. Salad, tomato, lettuce, jalapenos and salsa sauce on the side. That’s it.

How to store it in the fridge over night:

Put everything inside the fridge. But when you re-heat the nachos in the microwave, you should only insert the nachos, chicken and cheese. If you add the vegetables in the microwave they will be soaking wet and not taste very good.

Picture of my health nachos:

Nachos is perfect to re-heat in the microwave the day after. Even the chicken tastes good!


2. Pizza.

Vegan pizza is one of my favorite dishes. I have even started to experiment a bit by putting potatoes on top of this wonderful Italian dish. When you hear the word “pizza”, you very often think that it is something unhealthy. It doesn’t have to be.

Anyway. It is not only tasteful (and potentially healthy), it is also the perfect microwave food.

How to store it in the fridge over night:

Just put the pizza in the fridge and take it out the next day. Pretty simple.

3. Soup

Tomato soup is probably one of the frequent dishes coming out of my kitchen. Tomato “sauce”, macaroni, cheese and water….that’s it. Simple and it tastes amazing.

Soup is probably also the optimal dish to put in the microwave the day after. Many people criticize the microwave for making their food “wet and bad tasting”. But I guess no one can criticize a dish that is already very wet.

How to store it in the fridge over night:

Be very careful about putting any soup inside the fridge that is still warm. Let the soup cool down 25-30 minutes on the kitchen sink before putting it into the fridge. This is a dish that will very often be able to “keep its heat” for a long time and you really don’t want the overall fridge temperature to increase because you were a bit too quick.

What other things can you do to reduce food waste?

Some other tips that you should read if you care about reducing food waste:

1) Buy a fridge.

No, I am just kidding. ☺

2) Grocery store planning.

When you go out to buy groceries, you should always plan ahead. Studies show that the biggest reason for food waste creation is buying too much food at once. I am always writing all the products down on a note on my mobile (don’t waste paper!!) before going to the shop. That keeps me from buying all kinds of stuff that I suddenly want when I walk close to the vegetables or the chips.

3) Actually eat the leftovers you save.

Buying a freezer and store all kinds of old dinner leftovers is easy. Everyone can do that. Actually take it out of the freezer, onto a plate and stick it into the microwave seems to be something that is very difficult for people.

So make some routines that every second Sunday you will only eat whatever you can find packed into plastic in your freezer.

4) Store the right products the right places

Did you know that bananas should always be in the refrigerator? And that you should always keep avocados in room temperature?

Most people don’t know the best practice of storing food and vegetables, which can make them expire much faster than what they should. That is a huge problem. Please read this full article on Heart.org about how to store groceries.

5) Expiry date is not a strict rule

With meat (especially chicken), you should be very careful about the expiry date. But vegetables, fruits, bread and other products will not make you sick if they expired yesterday. You have to know that.

I have eaten Corn Flakes and bread that expired three days ago without any problem. That being said, the milk still had some days until expiry…if not, it could have been a quite unpleasant breakfast.

How to make your home more environmentally friendly?

Reducing food waste is just one of many things that can be done to live more eco-friendly at home. There are dozens of other small adjustments that can and should be made to reduce your carbon footprint. I have previously written an article with all the changes I have made in my home to live more eco-friendly.

Also, in this article, you’ll learn why cooking at home is better for the environment at all.

Last famous words

Buying a microwave is one of the best investments you can do. It will help you from both a finance perspective and from an environmental perspective. Less food waste also means that you will waste less money. All the food that you throw out is of course paid for. That is, in my opinion, not the biggest problem with wasting food. But very often it is the only motivation that can help people to understand that they should do everything they can in order to eat all the food they buy in the grocery store.

History has shown that this is true. The second that Norway and UK implemented a (very high) tax on plastic bags, scientists immediately saw a drop in the plastic pollution in the ocean surrounding these countries. We know that financial motives are the only thing that can help everyone to act environmentally friendly.

But regardless of your motivation, buying a microwave is a great thing to do. You can just see the variety of dinner dishes that would be perfect to eat as leftovers.

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