Wasted Food

By Frank Pasqual for SUST 210 online

We all have to eat food in order to survive.  Some people overeat and some don’t eat enough.  There is not a shortage of food in America yet, but we have to think about other societies around the globe that do have a shortage of food.  As consumers of food here in the US, people sometimes buy too much food for the fridge or pantry.  Some of this food gets overlooked and forgotten, then thrown out because it has expired.  This is both wasted food and wasted money.  Of course we all know that it takes money to buy food.  So why waste either?

We have to think as smart consumers when we go to the grocery.  Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”  Or “Will I eat this later?”  I know I have bought food that I thought I would eat but didn’t, therefore it was wasted.  According to the March 31st, 2012, article “Lake County Waste Agency Pushes for Food Scrap Recycling” by Mick Zawislak of the Daily Herald, “The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates 40 percent of all food in the U.S. goes to waste, and the average American throws away about 20 pounds of food each month.”  On that note, isn’t it time to really think of how much food we actually waste at home?  For instance, think of times that we take leftovers home from the restaurant, and then put the doggy bag or box in the fridge thinking that we will eat it later.  I know most of the time, I either forget about it or don’t want to eat it again.  Therefore, it’s food wasted.

As Zawislak’s article notes, there are programs that are being advocated, but not yet started, that may be specifically for residential food waste collection.  This simply divides the food waste from regular garbage, which can conserve landfill space and in turn provide a source of compost material.  By not wasting food, we can help our environment and save money in our pockets.

We as people should always ask ourselves when we scrape unfinished food from the plate into the garbage can, “What about all those starving people around the world?”  I know I have, but I still threw it away because I thought, who else would eat it? Right?  Consequently, as consumers we should buy less food — buy enough, but enough to survive.  We should purchase food that we know we will definitely eat later — and what we don’t consume, we should dispose of properly.

Submitted 6 April 2012

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About Suburban Sustainability

Founder and editor of the Schaumburg's Sustainability Future social media project (est. Earth Day, 2011)
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