Americans eat a lot, but they also waste a lot. The evidence is in trash cans and landfills.
Every time you find green food in the back of your fridge turning a rotting brown color or you can’t tell if your edible food is fish or poultry, consider these facts: Chemicals and the energy that produces, processes, transports, stores and prepares them.
Food waste is a global problem, but high-income countries like the United States play a huge role. The majority of food waste in the United States comes from supermarkets, restaurants and consumer habits, unlike developing countries where improper refrigeration, storage and harvesting are major sources of waste.
The federal government estimates that Americans waste about 30% to 40% of their food supply. Only China and India generate more food waste, and only New Zealand and Ireland generate more food waste per capita than the United States.
American consumers waste about one-third of the food they buy. This equates to approximately 1,250 calories per person per day, or $1,500 worth of groceries for a family of four each year. This $240+ billion waste of hers also threatens food security, productivity, economic efficiency and energy conservation. Nor does it address the impact on the ability to feed people experiencing food insecurity. Leftover food could feed more than 150 million people each year, far outnumbering her 35 million Americans who experience food insecurity.
Reducing food waste also means America and the world can do more with less. Halving food waste by 2030 would require the United States to produce at current levels on 75 million acres of farmland, more than Arizona, according to federal researchers. saves approximately 29 million households in water consumption annually, saves enough energy to power 21.5 million households annually, and the annual reduction in CO2 offsets the emissions of 23 coal-fired power plants. increase.
Reducing food waste also helps mitigate the impacts of climate change. We estimate that 40% could endure several months of severe drought each year.
Too often, the solution to global and local problems is a mindset that underestimates the effectiveness of protection and efficiency, and creates more ways in which individual small steps can make an overall difference. While not a complete answer, conservation and efficiency have the potential to positively impact food availability and rising prices, leading to more efficient food chains.
As we enter the new year, let us resolve to do our part to be leaner.
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