$144 Billion Worth of Food is Wasted Each Year in the United States Alone
Many of us are aware of our personal food waste. Each time we toss food into the trash in our own kitchens, we are brutally aware of our personal food waste. Statistically, it is estimated that around $144 billion is wasted each year by people living in the U.S. While some of the food waste comes from restaurants and grocery stores, around 40% comes from our own kitchens.
Food Waste in America
In the United States, food waste is a major problem. Each year, more food is thrown away than glass, plastic, metal, and paper, which totals as much as 40 million tons every year. Since the U.S. number is the highest in the world for food waste, there must be no one going hungry in America, right? However, this is not the case, it’s estimated that as much as 1 in every 6 people in the U.S. worries about their next meal. This is a growing problem and the solution is easier than you think.
Why is Food Waste a Problem?
Food is expensive, there’s no getting around that. Many families will attest to a large percentage of their monthly debt is dedicated to purchasing groceries. A typical family of four in the U.S. spends as much as $900 per month on food. In addition to food prices increasing year by year, seasonal changes may drive the prices up. As an example, in certain areas of the country, particularly the colder states, fruits, and vegetables cost significantly more in the winter than the summer. Transportation costs to get fresh food to colder areas is costly and that cost is seen at the checkout line. Yet, 25 to 40 percent of food in the United States ends up in a landfill. The food prices and lower incomes have led to over 42 million people being concerned about their food security.
Food Waste was not as big of a problem in the past, so why is it a problem now? As a whole, we are buying more food than ever before. Most families will throw away an average of $50 to $100 a week. Today, fresh produce may only stay fresh for few days. It takes a lot longer for our food to get from farm to the store to table.
While many stores have started to mark down fresh produce as they get closer to their date, but the problem still continues because we have learned to buy in bulk.
Canned foods, boxed foods, and frozen foods also add to the food waste problems because many people, businesses, and even food banks throw these products away. Most of these items will stay good well past the sell by date.
How to Lower Your Food Waste?
The best way to lower food waste is to stop throwing usable items in the trash. Canned goods and other items that have long shelf lives are a great example of this. Most people buy these items because they are cheap or on sale and never use them. This may be due to a number of reasons, but many of them end up in the trash. Even food banks have to throw them out if they cannot give them away before their expiration date.
However, you can donate food or sell food that you are not going to use. This lowers food waste because the items are given to people in need as free food. This helps lower the number of people who are worrying about their next meal.
Lowering your food waste is not only good for the environment, it also helps others and your wallet. So, providing free food to those who need it lowers the 30 to 40 million tons of food that is trashed every year.
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