More than 40 percent of all food produced in America is not eaten, according to research by former University of Arizona anthropologist Timothy Jones. That amounts to more than 29 million tons of food waste each year, or enough to fill the Rose Bowl every three days. Nationwide, food scraps make up 17 percent of what we send to landfills.
The above excerpt was taken from the article, “The Food not Eaten – Food Waste: Out of Site, Out of Mind.” Food waste is and has been one of my biggest focuses over the last couple years. When I have to throw food out, I feel extremely guilty. I think about all the energy and effort that went into the production and transport of that food, and it is all such a waste. I also think of the money I spent on that item, a dollar here and there does add up! If you are throwing out just 14% of what you bought think about that in comparison to your monthly food bill! (The 14% is from the study linked in the quote above from the University of Arizona and includes just food thrown in the trash, not food composted, put in the garbage disposal, or given to the family pet.) We have made marked improvements in the area of food waste, we compost significantly less than we did last year at this time and we hardly have to ever throw out items in the pantry or freezer any more, but we still do :(. My goal is to throw nothing out, this seems like a very difficult and challenging goal right now. Sometimes you forget about items, they get shoved to the back of the fridge or pantry, and sometimes you just can’t take another night of leftovers!
If you are interested in wasting less food and less money please join Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Green Bean also offers some great tips on her blog.
In truth, stretching meals and reducing food waste is not much of a sacrifice. It only requires a pinch of organization and a teaspoonful of effort.
Reducing food waste also makes a positive impact on the environment.
There’s also a large environmental impact as well if your food waste gets sent to a landfill. Food waste is the largest landfill contributor to methane gas production, so unless your municipality has a landfill-to-gas capture, your rotten bananas and forgotten pickles are contributing to global climate change.
There you have it, you can save the earth and some money by simply reducing your food waste. Anyone interested in joining in? Please feel free to share any of your recipes that use up leftovers or any other tricks you may have.