How much food are we wasting?
Every year in the United States, almost 40% of all food produced goes uneaten. 95% of that goes straight into landfills. This includes millions of tons of preventable wasted food that was served but not eaten, spoiled food, unharvested crops, and “ugly food”. Wasted food is excessive, expensive, and environmentally harmful. Food waste costs our nation $166 billion every year which amounts to $1,500 a year for a family of four! We are feeding our landfills almost as much as we feed ourselves while 1 in 8 Americans are food-insecure, which means they don’t have consistent access to enough food to meet their basic needs.
Environmental impacts of food waste
When food is wasted, all of the resources used to produce that food is also wasted.
8% of US agricultural land, which is equal to the area of Pennsylvania, is used to produce the food that gets wasted! 150 of the United State’s largest cities take up less land than wasted food uses.
25% of all freshwater in the US is used to produce food that is thrown away!
Food waste also has a carbon footprint– Most uneaten food goes to the landfills where it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 24 times more environmentally harmful than CO2!
Our nation’s food waste produces more greenhouse gas emissions than every country on Earth, except for China and the United States!
What does food waste look like?
“Imagine walking out of a grocery store with four bags of groceries, dropping one in the parking lot, and not bothering to pick it up. That’s essentially what we’re doing in our homes today.“
– Dana Gunders, Natural Resources Defense Council
Fight Food Waste!
There are some simple steps you can take to reduce your food waste!
- Shop your kitchen- use up the food you already have before you buy more.
- Plan ahead- shop with meals in mind, have a plan for everything you buy at the grocery store.
- Create an “eat first” section in your refrigerator.
- Freeze what you can’t eat.
- Commit to eating all the food you buy!
These resources can help you reduce your food waste at home!
Join the Food: Too Good to Waste Facebook group !!!!
Take the PLEDGE -This pledge helps prompt you to think about how you can reduce food waste at home
Food storage guide
Portion size cheat sheet
Say No to Food Waste -Data on food waste to show what it looks like and where it comes from
Save the food -A valuable waste reduction resource: tips and tools
Signs for your kitchen
Join the Food: Too Good to Waste Challenge!
The purpose of the Food: Too Good to Waste challenge is to keep good food from going to waste! The challenge will help you figure out how much food (and money) you are throwing out. You’ll learn easy ways to save time and money, and keep valuable resources from going to waste! The challenge takes less than 10 minutes a week for 5 weeks , all you have to do is collect and weigh any edible food that you throw out each week.
During week 1- To collect baseline data during the first week of the challenge, you will measure your food waste but DON’T implement any changes yet! Check out the Challenge Kick-off Presentation to get more familiar with the purpose of the challenge and how to begin. Also read through the Introduction to the Challenge for more information on why it is so important to reduce our food waste at home.
For weeks 2-5- You will be provided tools and strategies to reduce your food waste! Make sure to weigh and record your food waste throughout the week. Learn new ways to reduce your food waste and compare your baseline data from the first week to the data from the average of the next four weeks combined. How much can you reduce your food waste??
For information on ways to reduce your food waste, check out the presentations below throughout the four weeks. Learn shopping and storage tips, how to cook “root-to-stem/nose-to-tail”, and gain more respect for food.
It is truly too good to waste!