How Much Food Do You Waste and What Can You Do About It

Many Americans aren’t even aware of how much money they waste on food, and how much food they actually throw away. With the money they spend unnecessarily during one year, an average family could eat for more than a month.

According to the recent statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an average American family throws away around $1,500 in food every year.

You probably think you are not one of those people who waste so much money, but you must have bought some food that wasn’t eaten (at least a couple of times), so it ended up in the garbage. You surely didn’t always eat all the food that was made for lunch, so the leftovers were disposed of. According to a study report published this June by the American Chemistry Council, around 70% of Americans are concerned about the amount of money they waste on food, and the major cause of concern for 45% of them is that there are so many people who don’t have enough funds to eat every day, while so much food is wasted.

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization claims that approximately 33% of all the food produced globally goes to waste or isn’t eaten.

Food loss happens for various reasons. The first one is spoilage. This is not entirely your fault, as some foods simply have short expiration dates and, sometimes, you just can’t eat them until they expire. But food waste, according to EPA, is what fills most of the U.S. landfills and is largely to be blamed for greenhouse gas emissions. Also, a lot of energy, water, and other resources are being wasted on food that ends up uneaten.

Luckily, most Americans are not indifferent about this, and they are ready to take steps to prevent such wasting of food.

Ninety-five percent of the people surveyed for the mentioned study published by the American Chemistry Council and conducted by TNS Global say that they will try to do better by eating leftovers, instead of throwing them away, and not buying too much food and then letting it go to waste. Also, 45% of the respondents said that they use plastic packaging for food to prevent it from spoiling quickly. This is a good method, because plastics keep oxygen, light, moisture, microbes and other outside factors from getting to the food and causing it to spoil sooner.

There are also food banks which will accept the foods that cannot be sold for one reason or another, but are edible and perfectly good.

This way you can give out all the food you know you won’t eat and that would otherwise go to waste to people who can’t afford food for themselves. By taking your excess food to those food banks you are feeding hungry people, but also protecting the environment, because all of that food waste goes to landfills and causes damage to the earth.

What are the basic steps you can take?

Finally, if you have realized that you are wasting too much money on uneaten food and you would like to change something about it and spend the money on something better, then make sure you don’t go shopping without a shopping list which should contain only what you need, and only in the quantities you need.

Don’t buy 3 pounds of potatoes if only half of it will be eaten. Moreover, turn on your creativity and use some groceries for more than one recipe. For example, you bought a little more cheese than you needed – use it tomorrow to make grilled cheese sandwiches or mix it in an omelet. And if you really can’t eat everything in your fridge before it goes to waste, but you don’t want to give it to anyone else either – put it in the freezer for later.

But remember not throw away anything that can be used.