Friday, November 25, 2016
After feasting on Thanksgiving like most of us did, it might be instructive to take a closer look at our attitude toward food.
Recent environmental conditions have food prices up already, and things are only going to get worse as cattle feed demands and bio-fuel mandates consume a bigger slice of a smaller pie.
So will there be a food shortage? Not if we stop throwing away nearly half of what we buy.
Americans are throwing out nearly every other bite of food, wasting up to 40 percent of the country's supply each year a mass of uneaten provisions worth $165 billion, according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
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An average family of four squanders $2,275 in food each year, or 20 pounds per person per month, according to the nonprofit and nonpartisan environmental advocacy group.
Food waste is the largest single portion of solid waste cramming American landfills. Since the 1970s, the amount of uneaten fare that is dumped has jumped 50 percent. The average American trashes 10 times as much food as a consumer in South-east Asia, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Such profligacy is especially unwarranted as food prices expected to get higher and families are unable to afford food, according to the council. Efforts are already in place in Europe to cut back on food waste.
But American consumers are used to seeing pyramids of fresh produce in their local markets and grocery stores, which results in $15 billion annually in unsold fruits and vegetables. In restaurants and home kitchens, massive portions often end up partly in the trash.
Half of American soil and many other key resources are used for agriculture the Natural Resources Defense Council says wasted food eats up a quarter of all freshwater consumed in the U.S. along with 4 percent of the oil while producing 23 percent of the methane emissions.