What a Waste?

            We all have those leftovers that have been pushed to the back of the refrigerator, long forgotten and not good for anything. And what about all of those freezer burnt pieces of meat that have migrated to the bottom of the freezer?  There are also those packages and cans in the pantry that are far outdated and will just end up in the garbage.   
            All of this food that is not being used is a waste of so much more than just food.  The energy that is put into growing, processing, storing and delivering said food is also wasted. And this wasted food is also a hazard. Once this food ends up in a landfill, what are the resulting effects? Dangerous levels of methane gases that are produced.      

            There are some staggering statistics out the regarding food waste as well as the time and energy it takes to produce it. 

·    Americans waste about 27 percent of their food, according to the USDA. — some 25.9 million tons — of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption
·    The USDA’s Food Loss Project lead researcher, Timothy Jones reported that, on average, U.S. households waste 14 percent of their food purchases. He estimates that a family of four tosses out $590 per year in meat, fruits, vegetables and grain products alone.
·    The NIDDK concluded in a 2009 study that each year, a quarter of U.S. water consumption and over 300 million barrels of oil (4 percent of U.S. oil consumption) go into producing and distributing food that ultimately ends up in landfills.
·     According to the U.S. EPA landfills account for 34 percent of all methane emissions in the U.S.  The food that we so casually tossing is contributing greatly to the methane gas creation.

            More people need to be aware of the effects of tossing that food into the garbage and that it is not just the food that is being wasted. What we all need to do is change the way that we plan, purchase, prepare and consume the food coming into our homes.  If we only purchase and prepare the foods that we are going to use within the time that we need it and actually take inventory of what we have and use it up before it goes bad.  If we all make that time to help with this growing issue by watching our consumption habits and perhaps start composting we can minimize the food waste and create a healthier world for everyone.

One way you could make a difference is to look at these sites for more information on things you could change to help with the elimination of food waste: