When it comes to food waste, the United States of America gives new meaning to the phrase “The Land of Plenty.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans threw out more than 35 million tons of food in 2012. That’s three times MORE than we discarded just 50 years prior – and the statistics are getting exponentially worse instead of better. In addition to the moral implications of this issue – with so many going hungry around the world – there’s also the environmental impact to consider. Food waste equates to more than a fifth of our country’s garbage – that’s more than plastic, paper, metal or glass. You can do your part to minimize the negative impact of food waste on the environment by tweaking your habits to include the following:
- Buy What You Need: It’s always a wise idea – for food waste control and household economics – to create a shopping list and stick to it when visiting the grocery store. Avoid impulse items that might go uneaten and try not to shop when hungry or you’re more likely to make purchases fueled by an empty tummy rather than a clear head. Spoilage is a major culprit for food waste.
- Employ Portion Control: Unless your family has got a love of left-overs, it might be wise to become a master of making just enough. Most recipes come with portion guidelines to help you control how much goes on each plate – meaning less waste to go into the bin or down the disposal.
- Take What You Want, But Eat All That You Take: When dining out, try to avoid letting your eyes be bigger than your stomach. That’s not to say you should overeat. Simply become intimately familiar with what your personal comfort level is and order to suit. Be sure to teach your children to do the same.
- Compost Your Left-Overs: While not all food waste is wise for compost bins (due to vermin and insects), there are some items that are ideal for creating a rich compost blend such as waste from fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, and tea bags. Want to learn more about Composting? Be sure to visit the Composting Page at www.gwinnettcb.org!
Source: Ferdman, Robert. “Americans throw out more food than plastic, paper, metal, and glass” The Washington Post. September 23, 2014.
Image Credit: The Jazz Cat 1/Stockvault