I write about this quite often as it’s a really important topic from an environmental viewpoint and a problem that doesn’t seem to be getting any better – food waste.
According to a new analysis from the Natural Resources Defense Council, folks in the USA are binning 40 percent of food, the equivalent of $165 billion in uneaten food each year.
The average American family of four tosses an equivalent of up to $2,275 annually in food in the bin.
I was surprised to also learn food waste is the single largest component of solid waste in U.S. landfills – I would have thought it was plastic.
A couple more statistics – there has been a 50 percent jump in U.S. food waste since the 1970s and just a 15 percent reduction in losses in the U.S. food supply would feed 25 million Americans annually.
The USA isn’t Robinson Crusoe on this front – I mentioned in July that Aussies were binning over a billion bucks worth of fruit and vegetables a year and $5 billion worth of food annually.
Food waste is a problem in most developed countries.
By reducing food waste, we not only save a bundle of cash, but a lot of resources. Harking back to the NRDC report, it seems 10 percent of the USA’s annual energy consumption, 50 percent of its utilised land and 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the nation goes towards the production of food.
When you consider how much water, land and energy goes into producing food, not binning the food we buy is a very green thing to do – and probably something most of us could make some improvements in. It’s a low hanging fruit (excuse the pun) of living a more environmentally friendly life and simple green actions, when multiplied by millions of people performing them, really can make a difference.
NRDC’s report – Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm To Fork to Landfill (PDF) looks at case studies and government data on food losses and provides examples and recommendations for reducing this waste.
Tips for reducing food waste