Food Waste

Food Waste: Why It Matters

On a trip to the grocery store you pick up a few items to make meals for the week, like lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. As the week goes on, your schedule changes, you have late meetings, you decide to order lunch; the next thing you know, that head of lettuce that was destined for your brown bag is rotten and destined for the trash can.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry, it’s happened to most of us. Last year, the National Ad Council identified food waste as a significant public issue and released a new educational campaign:

Why It’s a Big Problem

Food waste has been making headlines recently, and with good reason. Every year, 40% of the food that is grown, produced, and purchased in the United States ends up in the trash and, ultimately, the landfills. That’s over 133 billion pounds of food!

And it isn’t just food that’s wasted when it hits the trash bin. The resources required to get that head of lettuce from a seedling to the grocery store also go to waste. For example, water is a requirement for produce and being smarter about food waste helps to conserve it. It takes 42 minutes worth of running shower water to grow one pound of bananas. You wouldn’t run your shower for 42 minutes, but throwing those bananas away is the equivalent of all that water going right down the drain. It may seem like a small amount, but it adds up over time – 133 billion pounds of food wasted in the U.S.A. is equal to 45 trillion gallons of water!

Being aware of food waste and how to prevent it will save you time, resources, and money. The National Resource Defense Council’s Save the Food website is full of simple tips you can do to reduce the amount of food your household wastes. Follow the link above for more info on:

  • Reviving wilted produce
  • Freezer strategies (and space saving ideas)
  • Meal planning tips
  • Deciphering dates stamped on products (and what exactly they mean)

Written by Adriene Worthington, RD, LDN

, ,