Food waste Hurts your wallet, harms the environment

It really hurts me to throw away food. Aside from the money that’s being wasted, I’m ashamed to be tossing out food when I know there are those who don’t have enough nutritious food to eat. I felt even worse after I read a recent report1 describing the impact of food waste on the environment. After calculating how much energy it takes to produce our food – and how much of that food we toss out – it was estimated that we could save the energy equivalent of about 350 billion barrels of oil if we didn’t waste any food.

Producing food costs a lot of energy – 10% or more of total US energy consumption goes towards food production. It takes the equivalent of about 1.4 billion barrels of oil to produce, package, prepare, preserve and distribute a year’s worth of food.

So here are the numbers – and they’re staggering. We waste an astonishing 27% of the food that’s produced in this country. We dump out 32% of dairy products, 31% of eggs, 25% of vegetables and 23% of all the fruit that’s produced. Some of our most nutritious foods are literally going down the drain, and we’re wasting huge amounts of energy in the process.

On average, we each waste about 150 pounds of food a year – that’s the body weight of an average person – because we buy too much and we prepare more than we need. And much of what we waste is safe and edible. Aside from the leftovers we don’t get around to, we also throw away a huge amount of unopened foods, or foods that we’ve opened and only used part of – like the remains of a family–sized carton of yogurt or the heels of a loaf of bread.

A lot of people throw out perfectly safe food because they don’t understand the dating system on food labels. Here’s the short course: a sell-by date is just the date that a food has to be pulled from store shelves. But properly stored, foods can last a lot longer than that. Milk, for instance, can easily last another week past that date– eggs could last another three. Even a really perishable food, like ground beef, is good for a couple of days after you buy it – assuming you store it properly. A use-by date is suggested for best flavor or quality – but foods are safe to eat after this date.

Food that’s obviously bad shouldn’t be eaten, of course. When foods are still safe to eat but starting to fade, think about how you can use them. When my apples start to get soft, I’ll make applesauce. If the bread is getting stale, I’ll dry it out and make my own bread crumbs. When the veggies are a little limp, I’ll put them into a soup. Sour milk makes fantastic pancakes.

So add these to your list of New Year’s resolutions to help you reduce your food waste and help the environment: When you shop, buy only what you can consume before the food spoils. Yes, larger packages are usually a better value than smaller ones – but not if the food is perishable and you end up throwing half away. Then, cook only what you know you’ll eat, or have specific plans for your leftovers – plan to use them for another meal, pack up for tomorrow’s lunch, or put them in the freezer.

And don’t serve more than you can (or should) eat. One of the biggest sources of food waste comes from food left on the plate.

11 Responses to Food waste Hurts your wallet, harms the environment

  • Hello! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone!

    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog
    and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the fantastic work!
    Kasey recently posted…KaseyMy Profile

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts about website. Regards
    Denice recently posted…DeniceMy Profile

  • I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for.
    Do you offer guest writers to write content for you personally?

    I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write
    regarding here. Again, awesome blog!
    Finley recently posted…FinleyMy Profile

  • Good information. Lucky me I came across your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have saved it for later!
    Flossie recently posted…FlossieMy Profile

  • When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with
    the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Celeste recently posted…CelesteMy Profile

  • Heya are using WordPress for your site platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you
    need any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!
    Vicky recently posted…VickyMy Profile

  • Hello to all, it’s genuinely a fastidious for me to pay a quick visit this web site, it consists of precious Information.
    Zoila recently posted…ZoilaMy Profile

  • hello there and thank you for your information – I’ve certainly picked up something new from right here.
    I did however expertise several technical points using this
    website, since I experienced to reload the site a lot of times previous
    to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK?

    Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and can damage
    your high-quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.

    Well I am adding this RSS to my email and could look out for a lot more
    of your respective interesting content. Make sure you update this again very soon.
    Eliza recently posted…ElizaMy Profile

  • Genuinely no matter if someone doesn’t be
    aware of after that its up to other users that they will help, so here it
    Stepanie recently posted…StepanieMy Profile

  • You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I find this topic to be actually one
    thing which I believe I’d never understand. It seems too complex and very extensive
    for me. I am taking a look forward for your subsequent submit, I will attempt to get the hang of it!
    Oren recently posted…OrenMy Profile

  • Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to improve my site!I
    suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!
    Blanche recently posted…BlancheMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge