"Reduce, reuse, recycle" is the mantra of the modern conservation movement, and you can learn how to reduce food waste in the kitchen by using the same ideology. Reducing what hits a landfill or compost pile is the first—and best—step to keeping costs down, increasing sustainability, and even adding a little appeal to your menu. The truth is that root-to-stem usage of produce is more than a hipster tagline. It's an appealing way to cut back on spending, and it's perfect for pumping the creative mojo that every kitchen needs. Here are three tips to help you eliminate waste:

  1. Use Fruit and Vegetable Trimmings for Creative Menu Additions

    Making the most of what's around the kitchen no longer means just haphazardly throwing vegetable trimmings into a stockpot. Getting serious about using everything in your produce box is a crucial part of reducing food waste. For instance, instead of tossing those peeled, dried tomato skins, throw them in your blender and use them as a tomato dust on hand-stretched mozzarella. Similarly, if you are dicing cucumbers for a summer gazpacho, create a high-speed puree from the seeds to use in a cucumber mojito.

  2. Don't Stop with Produce

    When it comes to reducing food waste, you can go beyond just fruits and vegetables. If you're preparing to make a split, roasted airline chicken breast, start the meal off with a cheese board that features sausage made with the leftover chicken skin. You could also top hummus with crispy chicken skin for a bold appetizer. The bottom line is that you can get creative when it comes to using products that are destined for the trash. You'll end up with a more on-trend menu, and throw away less cash.

  3. Use Whole-Food Cooking to Save on Labor Costs

    Peeling a fruit can be a missed opportunity because you can lose about 40 percent of a fruit's weight through the process. It also takes time and energy, and money is sacrificed when you fail to come up with an impressive way to use the peel. Many juices or jams that call for a whole fruit embrace whole-food cooking. The versatility of having these healthy items on your menu is boundless, and again, the marketability of being waste-free is very appealing.

If you're wondering how to reduce food waste, start with these three crucial tips. Tightening the reins on menu engineering through less waste is more than a marketing tool or a means to cut spending. Getting innovative with what usually goes to waste is your nod to environmental responsibility, so use those opportunities to tap into your creativity and embrace a sustainable kitchen.