Americans are wasteful when it comes to food, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-profit environmental group. It released a report that highlights the high level of food that goes into the trash.
Chow.com, a food blog, reported last year that European and North American consumers wasted approximately between 209 and 253 pounds of food per person each year. On an international scale, 33 percent of all food produced for human digestion is lost – both developed and developing nations waste roughly the same amount of food.
A new report focuses on American food wastage. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) analyzed the situation and concluded that 40 percent of food in the United States, which equals to about $165 billion, is uneaten every year.
The average American family of four throws up to $2,275 worth of food in the trash annually. Since the 1970s, the NRDC says food wastage has skyrocketed by 50 percent, while food wastage is the largest element of solid waste in U.S. landfills.
Unsold fruits and vegetables are a considerable factor of wasted food. Also, restaurants, fast food outlets and even consumers are contributing to the heavy losses by preparing large portions, which then lead to uneaten leftovers that usually go in the garbage.
It claims that even a 15 percent reduction in food supply losses could feed as much as 25 million Americans per year.
“As a country, we’re essentially tossing every other piece of food that crosses our path – that’s money and precious resources down the drain,” said Dana Gunders, NRDC project scientist with the food and agriculture program, in a news release. “With the price of food continuing to grow, and drought jeopardizing farmers nationwide, now is the time to embrace all the tremendous untapped opportunities to get more out of our food system. We can do better.”
The NRDC offered three tips:
- “The U.S. government should conduct a comprehensive study of losses in our food system and set national goals for waste reduction.
- “Businesses should seize opportunities to streamline their own operations, reduce food losses and save money.
- “Consumers can waste less food by shopping wisely, knowing when food goes bad, buying produce that is perfectly edible even if it’s less cosmetically attractive, cooking only the amount of food they need, and eating their leftovers.”