Wasting Food

A 2012 issue paper from the National Resources Defense Council shows that Americans waste up to 40 percent of their food, with the average family of four creating up to $2,275 in food waste annually. Preventing waste makes sense…and cents. Wouldn’t you rather save and spend that money on a vacation?

Food waste or food loss is food that is discarded or lost uneaten. The causes of food waste or loss are numerous, and occur at the stages of production, processing, retailing and consumption. [1]

Here’s the latest installment of my food waste advice column,  Dear Wasted Food Dude , which also runs on  BioCycle ‘s site  and their e-bulletin,  BioCycle Food Recycling News . 

Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption. That comes at an annual cost of more than $100 billion. At the same time, food prices and the number of Americans without enough to eat continues to rise.

When we scrape off our dishes after a large meal, too full to finish the remaining scraps on our plate, we rarely pause and think about the significance of our action. It seems routine to us: if we have leftover food scraps that are unfit for eating, shouldn’t they be thrown in the garbage? Our routine practices, unfortunately, make it difficult for us to conceptualize the magnitude of global food waste.  The problem is bigger than we think.

A recent report about the United Kingdom’s food waste stated that U.K. households discard 8.3 million metric tons (2205 lbs.) of food and drink each year, most of which could be eaten. This is equivalent to wasting 64 gallons of water per person each day, 1½ times the amount an average U.K. household uses daily.