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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:38 AM

We’re throwing away approximately 50 percent more food per person today than we did in the mid ’70s.

http://www.globalpossibilities.org/farm-to-table-or-farm-to-landfill/




Alison Spiegel

Associate Blog Editor, The Huffington Post
Posted: 01/23/2013 12:10 pm

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year is to waste less. As an American, I know that it’s too easy to be wasteful in my daily life, which seems structured to waste as much as possible. But I also know there are a ton of easy, simple changes I can make to improve my habits and waste less. So it is my goal this year to build these habits into my daily life and make them routine. My goal is to cut down the waste I produce from food and food packaging — the two items that make up the bulk of what I throw into my trash can. For this post, I’ll focus on food waste. 2013 has already seen a flurry of media attention on food waste, following a new study published a few weeks ago by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which estimates thatas much as half of the food we produce gets thrown away.

The report, “Global Food: Waste Not Want Not,” reports that “30 to 50 percent (or 1.2 to two billion tonnes) of all food produced never reaches a human stomach.” That’s 2.6 to 4.4 trillion pounds — an incredible amount of food, and a global calamity. As Americans, we throw away up to 40 percent of the food we produce, or the equivalent of $165 billion a year. Food waste represents the largest category of waste in landfills in the United States. And of course we’re not only wasting food; we’re also losing all of the precious resources used to produce food, from petroleum to water to land. Over half of the land in the United States and roughly 80 percent of the water we use is dedicated to food production. Almost as staggering as the amount of food and resources in the process that we waste is how quickly our systemic excess has escalated. Dana Gunders, a scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, estimates that we’re throwing away approximately 50 percent more food per person today than we did in the mid ’70s. It’s time to turn this behavior around.

So what can we do?

We can approach the problem from two angles: We can produce less food waste to begin with and then we can compost the waste we will inevitably end up with. We can take this two-pronged approach on an individual level, and also by demanding change on an institutional level.

To produce less food waste this year, I’m going to be more diligent about menu planning when I go food shopping, so that I buy a set of ingredients that will go toward multiple dishes instead of isolated ingredients that will rot in the fridge if I don’t use them up. If Monday night’s dinner calls for asparagus, I’ll make sure I’m cooking a dish that can use the excess asparagus later in the week. I also plan to heed the good advice that almost anything can be frozen and saved for later.


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Reply We’re throwing away approximately 50 percent more food per person today than we did in the mid ’70s. (Original post)
SoCalDem Jan 2013 OP
Ter Jan 2013 #1
no_hypocrisy Jan 2013 #2
get the red out Jan 2013 #3
no_hypocrisy Jan 2013 #7
get the red out Jan 2013 #8
LisaLynne Jan 2013 #4
hfojvt Jan 2013 #6
get the red out Jan 2013 #9
The2ndWheel Jan 2013 #5
gollygee Jan 2013 #10

Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:46 AM

1. Not me

 

I do my part, almost nothing goes to waste.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:53 AM

2. I see it at supermarket produce sections.

If a fruit or vegetable is not a perfect shape, color, texture, etc. or starting to slightly ripen (losing its greenness), then it's either thrown out or put out for discount sale. I usually buy the discount the food is still viable, safe to eat, and tastes good.

I knew a family that would cook a roast, eat maybe half of it and throw the rest away. That's right. Threw away good meat like it was now toxic. No leftovers in that frig.

I try to consume everything I buy, so first, I don't buy more than I'll eat in about a week. Then I try to re-use anything left over like freezing chicken and turkey carcasses, onion scraps and skins, vegetables, cheese, and use them later for stock or other dishes.

I live alone and I produce enough garbage (demonstrating my waste quota) for one small plastic (supermarket) bag every 1-1/2 weeks or maybe 2 weeks.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:59 AM

3. No leftovers???

That's crazy! I got 4 good meals out of some black beans and rice I cooked Sunday.

I think attitudes used to be more focused on not wasting food then they are now. It was during the mid-70's that my Mother would give me the "Don't throw that away, there are starving children in (fill in the blank country)" lecture, and it became rather ingrained.

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Response to get the red out (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 01:05 PM

7. Yeah, that got me too.

You could make a stew with vegetables and beans to really stretch out half a roast, use the bones and fat (if any) to make stock. If you're gonna pay $25+ for a good roast, make sure each serving comes out to $1.00+, if not less.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:34 PM

8. And in my case

I'd use some of the scraps for dog training treats.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:06 AM

4. Being single, I sometimes can't finish all the produce I buy ...

before it goes bad, such as say a head of lettuce. It really makes me feel horrible. I share sometimes with my brother and his family, but that can get hard, too. But say if I buy a bag of apples or something, I give them most of it and just keep a few that I know I'm going to eat. The article mentioned planning meals, which is a great idea. I actually did that and cut down on my grocery bill by A LOT in addition to not buying too much and not being able to eat it.

I do compost when stuff does go bad, but I still feel bad about it.

There is also a LOT of waste at restaurants and even at the cafeteria at the university where I work. It's astounding. They sometimes try to do something about it, but it's still absolutely sad.

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Response to LisaLynne (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:56 AM

6. that's where I bet a lot of the waste is coming from

restaurants, cafeterias and pre-packaged food.

But a lot of that waste too, is coming from the customers. People who goto a dinner and then don't eat very much of the food. People who do not finish their drinks.

But it seems to me too, that all the extra weight would be another form of waste too - people eating more than is healthy for them.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:37 PM

9. Restaurants

Over-sized portions probably contribute too. It's a better "deal" to get the "meal deal" at a fast food place, even if you don't eat all of it. I paid as much for a burger and a drink a couple of weeks ago as the full meal with fries would have cost. Once you figure that out, most people will take everything they can get, even if they throw some away.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:18 AM

5. The cheaper something is, the easier it is to waste it

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:42 PM

10. Leftovers always get eaten at my house

I think buying in bulk leads to more waste. I know it's cheaper, but unless you're a really good planner, it seems like you'll end up throwing a lot of stuff out. I am not a good planner, therefore I never buy in bulk. I only buy just enough.

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