Prices at the supermarket continue ticking higher, but that doesn’t mean Americans have figured out how to only buy what they need. Recent statistics indicate that roughly 40% of the nation’s food is wasted each year, which adds up to a staggering 100 billion pounds nationwide.
The high environmental stakes
We’ve all heard concerns about climate change and the looming environmental crisis that is threatening our very survival — but many of us are still unsure about how we can make a difference. Experts say a good place to start is by limiting how much food we waste.
Here are some pragmatic reasons for you to take action as soon as possible:
- Food waste makes up about 10% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- About 1 in 10 U.S. households have trouble providing enough food and could benefit from food donations.
- The typical American family spends nearly $2,000 each year on food that eventually lands in the trash.
In some ways, this wasteful lifestyle is by design as packaging and portion sizes are often bigger than they should be. Nevertheless, there are ways to make smarter choices.
Ways you can cut down on food waste
Some government officials are pushing for regulations and standards meant to cut down on waste, but individuals, families, and communities have many more opportunities to make a positive difference.
Consider any (or all) of the following suggestions to limit how much waste you produce each year:
- Buy food from suppliers that specialize in misshapen produce, bent boxes, and other products that would likely otherwise be wasted.
- Create a weekly menu and shopping list that includes appropriate portion sizes for all ingredients.
- Package and freeze leftovers to eat later or compost any food not fit for future consumption.