This Is Where 43% Of Food Waste Comes From
If you guessed produce, you’re unfortunately right.
An average family of four throws out $1,600 yearly just in produce (Feeding America). 🤯
With that money, you could instead:
- Purchase an entire month’s worth of groceries
- Grab an e-bike to pick up your groceries with
- Outfit your entire home with zero-waste products, saving more money over time and a whole lot of waste from entering the environment
Let’s dig into the source of the problem, what we can do about it, and at the end, see how you score on our food waste quiz.
Why Is Discarded Food A Problem?
Significant land, water, labor, energy, and other inputs are also wasted in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing discarded food.
What’s worse is that the wholesome food that could have helped feed families in need is sent to landfills.
Food takes up more space in US landfills than anything else—22% of municipal solid waste (EPA, 2017).
Organic waste in landfills are unable to break down properly due to the lack of oxygen and end up:
- Emitting methane, a potent greenhouse gas
- Generating toxic run-off from decomposing waste
- Creating ocean dead zones where aquatic life cannot survive
Who Does Our Food Waste Come From?
The biggest culprit? Homes.
Wasting food contributes to 11% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (World Wildlife Fund).
While manufacturers and farms do their best to maximize their yield (and profits), the general population approaches food with a much looser mindset.
30% of ALL food worldwide goes to waste (USDA).
And it’s costing us a lot.
7 Ways To Make Real Impact From Your Home
🥑 Evaluate your current stock of food.
Create a first in, first out organization system in your fridge so that older foods are visible and get eaten. No more moldy corner-of-the-fridge foods!
📝 Go grocery shopping with a list.
Plan your meals. What are the ingredients needed to make the dishes for the week? Know what foods work for your body and your protein requirements.
🍑 Embrace imperfect produce.
Fruits and veggies with blemishes still taste the same and may be a fraction of the cost. Fruits, vegetables, roots, and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food.
🏠 Store your food properly.
After grocery shopping, make it a habit to store all your foods properly. Take an extra half-hour to meal prep. Freeze food that can’t be eaten immediately. Store leftovers in plastic-free airtight containers.
🥫 Understand labels and guide those around you.
Best before = product may not taste/perform as expected but safe to consume.
Expiry date = product is perishable and has food safety concerns over time.
🍲 Make the most out of your scraps.
Collect your vegetable ends and peels to make a veggie broth. Compost all organic materials appropriate to your municipal.
📦 Donate food.
Food insecurity has risen over the years. Donate extra food to food pantries or people who may need it.
“I’m only one person. What kind of difference can I really make?”
Asking this question allows us the comfort of letting others make the first move. The result is that we fall victim to the bystander effect.
But what if we tried in our own unique way? Or, better yet, what if enough people stepped forward and accepted the challenge along with us?
Saving just one-fourth of the global food waste would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people worldwide.
There is strength in numbers. One person can get things started; a second person can create more ripples; a third person may influence a tidal wave.
On a national level, the USDA and UPA set a goal in 2015 to reduce food waste by half by 2030.
Change starts with you. And, before you know it, you’ve created a movement in your own home, neighborhood, and community.
Be the change!
See how you score out of 7. Challenge a friend to take the quiz!