Forum Index » Chaff » We Americans Waste / Throw Away Half Our Food -- Say it ain't so!


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Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
We Americans Waste / Throw Away Half Our Food -- Say it ain't so! on 08/22/2012 16:56:38 MDT Print View

Can this really be true -- that we waste or throw away almost half of our food?

Things are much less complicated here in my household of one. I cook half the time and eat out the other half. Speaking of my own cooking and groceries -- I seriously doubt if I throw away more than 2-3% of my food purchases...

I am sure folks with bigger families, finicky children, etc. would find it a lot harder to forecast and shop. But 50% waste -- if true -- is obscene!

OTOH, given how obese some of us are, I also cannot imagine if nothing was wasted and we actually ate 100% of the food we bought! Maybe we have real problems with both over production and over consumption??

Edited by ben2world on 08/22/2012 16:58:03 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: We Americans Waste / Throw Away Half Our Food -- Say it ain't so! on 08/22/2012 17:10:07 MDT Print View

Little waste in our home. I make the majority of our food from unprocessed foods - I work hard making 3 meals a day + bread + everything else. I can, freeze and dry. High quality base ingredients are too pricey to waste!! I know what is in the house and plan accordingly. I try for few leftovers....they tend to get wasted.

I also have a very tall and thin teenager who eats constantly :-P

PS: We are a family of 5, with 3 kids. Being finicky isn't allowed here.

Oh yeah, and I'll bet most food wasted is fresh produce. People buy it and don't use it.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: We Americans Waste / Throw Away Half Our Food -- Say it ain't so! on 08/22/2012 17:16:23 MDT Print View

Not me. My neighbors think I died. Let me explain.

On my street, the garbage collection is every Monday, so everybody sets out their garbage cans by the curb weekly on Sunday night.

Not me. I set my garbage can out about once every two months. It takes me that long to fill it since I have so little waste to be disposed of. I buy almost zero of what you would call prepared food, and the vegetables are in virtually zero packaging.

--B.G.--

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: We Americans Waste / Throw Away Half Our Food -- Say it ain't so! on 08/22/2012 17:43:22 MDT Print View

Well, I'm not American, but I think the situation is similar in a lot of the developed world. In our household, nothing edible gets 'thrown away'. If we don't eat it, the dogs and cats get second pickings, if they don't want it, the hens get third options, if they don't eat it, it goes in the worm bin, and anything leftover goes onto the compost pile. The compost, chicken poo and worm castings all get dug back into the veggie garden to start the cycle over again. Sometimes we feed spare worms to the chickens, definitely one of their favourite treats. And of course, a lot of the spare veggies from the veggie patch, which were fertilised by the chicken waste, goes back to feed the hens again. We also use some of our spare cardboard to grow mushrooms.

However, I know for a fact we are in the minority, and that most of our neighbors throw away a great deal of potentially useful food scraps and garden 'waste'. But it could be worse. In our city, we have one of those separate rubbish bins for organic matter, which gets collected and taken away to be composted and re-sold to consumers that are too lazy to make their own.

Edited by retropump on 08/22/2012 17:45:19 MDT.

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
RE:"We Americans Waste / Throw Away Half Our Food -- Say it ain't so!" on 08/22/2012 18:13:19 MDT Print View

Unfortunately I'm sure it's correct. We American's are obscene in what they think then need to own/buy and consequently waste...it's embarrassing; maybe someday that will change.

I actually have the same scenario as Bob G. and had to laugh when I read his post because I've wondered what my neighbors think sometimes since mine goes to the curb so infrequently.

I'm only one, but so is one neighbor and the other is a young couple and they're bins are both full every week, it baffles me. I have a compost bin outside my kitchen door, recycle everything allowable so there's very little to throw out. I try to live by reduce,reuse,and recycle as much as possible, but I'm just one person.

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
Throwing away food on 08/22/2012 18:19:40 MDT Print View

"Unsold fruits and vegetables in grocery stores account for a big part of the wasted food."

... and at the end of the day everything in the bakery department goes into a garbage bag. I agree, we as a nation are very wasteful, but a huge part of that waste occurs before the food gets into our homes.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: RE:"We Americans Waste / Throw Away Half Our Food -- Say it ain't so!" on 08/22/2012 18:23:01 MDT Print View

"We American's are obscene in what they think then need to own/buy and consequently waste...it's embarrassing; maybe someday that will change. "

Think of that as an accomplishment by modern marketing.

--B.G.--

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: We Americans Waste / Throw Away Half Our Food -- Say it ain't so! on 08/22/2012 19:01:21 MDT Print View

I'd like to think that we ULers as a group are probably more conscious of our impact on our environment -- and consequently we waste less and we push out less trash to the curb.

Again, a household of one, but it also takes me weeks to fill up my recycle bin -- and theoretically even longer to fill up my much smaller, non-recycle bin! I say theoretically because I do push out that bin every week -- near empty -- just so food waste (veg. stalks, port fat, chicken skin, etc.) don't become putrid.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Throwing away food on 08/22/2012 19:05:05 MDT Print View

As for supermarkets and bakeries throwing food out... makes me wonder if most of them have some kind of tie-in's with local food banks -- to distribute to the truly needy? I will ask my local supermarket on my next visit.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Re: Throwing away food on 08/22/2012 19:34:40 MDT Print View

Supermarkets and bakeries donate an amazing amount of food. Our local food banks drive around an pick up from all the markets.
Tax incentives as well as good public relations.

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
It's never really what you are on 08/22/2012 20:09:48 MDT Print View

But what you throw away//And how much did you pay

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Throwing away food on 08/23/2012 15:02:15 MDT Print View

Food waste in stores is bad. No way around that. I saw that first hand running a coffee house for 8 years. You waste a LOT of food. At least coffee grounds I could give away to those with compost bins/piles. They were popular. As for leftover food/bread over the years I got to know some of the guys who lived in the woods outside of town. If they wanted stuff, I would sack it for them. My boss didn't know I did this, and I was fine with that.

But lets face a real fact though about waste and it concerns food banks. I know someone close to me who uses a food bank to supplement their food every week. They take all the produce offered (it is locally grown/donated) and the good grains in bulk (rice, oats, etc) plus the good bread (Dave's Killer Bread). He sees nearly everyone else take the cheap, junk food. They fight over the nastiest PB, cheap white bread, etc. Due to him taking whole foods he often gets 2-3 times as much food - simply due to no one else expressing intrest in it! So they reward him.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
We Americans Waste / Throw Away Half Our Food -- Say it ain't so! on 08/23/2012 16:38:34 MDT Print View

"At least coffee grounds I could give away to those with compost bins/piles."

Great for worm farms...

BTW, same sort of food wastage here in Australia, apparently about 178 kg (392 lbs) per person per year
http://foodwise.com.au/did-you-know/fast-facts.aspx

Franco

Landen Khorid
(Landen119) - F
Food Waste on 08/29/2012 00:02:52 MDT Print View

America is a rather wasteful first-world country, if a new study by the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council is any indication. According to the NRDC study, the United States wastes a whopping $165 billion worth of food each year, Wasted food is an American epidemic.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
it ain't so! on 08/29/2012 10:16:24 MDT Print View

I'll give a plug to a video that Huell Howser (PBS) did on the topic of food banks in Calif.

if you like HH & Cal Gold, you'll enjoy it, you don't then it will drive you insane.

http://www.calgold.com/green/Default.asp?Series=100&Show=1117

There is a 30 secs utility power company commercial at the beginning of the episode.
skip it.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: Waste on 08/30/2012 16:34:47 MDT Print View

Being unemployed for 3 1/2 years taught me how to manage food and instilled in me a sense of guilt about wasting food. I learned how to fix food (casseroles, lots of beans/rice, soups)that allowed me to eat it all before it went off, without having to throw away anything. Now, even though I am back in a good-paying full-time job, I still try to avoid waste because, well, I never know if I'll end up in the same situation again. BTW, I was laid off from my last job when the economy tanked and our company ran out of work contracts - i.e., I was laid off through no fault of my own. I was luckier than most people - I had an IRA I could draw on. My new job came through just as I ran out of money, in fact it came through a week before I was to meet with a bankruptcy lawyer.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: Re: Throwing away food on 08/30/2012 16:36:53 MDT Print View

Ben - I was just going to say that. Why can't it be given to homeless shelters/soup kitchens?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Waste on 08/30/2012 17:00:28 MDT Print View

"Being unemployed for 3 1/2 years taught me how to manage food and instilled in me a sense of guilt about wasting food. I learned how to fix food (casseroles, lots of beans/rice, soups)that allowed me to eat it all before it went off, without having to throw away anything."

When I was growing up in northern Michigan in the 1940's, that was the way every housewife cooked. How times do change.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Throwing away food on 08/30/2012 17:16:32 MDT Print View

Al lot of this has to be on the producer/ retailer end. They make food stuffs they hope to sell and it doesn't always. Worse to me is the huge amount of packaging and marketing materials that go along with junk food. Wasteful all around. As long as someone is making money from these practices it will continue.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: We Americans Waste / Throw Away Half Our Food -- Say it ain't so! on 08/30/2012 18:51:11 MDT Print View

I wish the study would break down the type of food.
I don't believe twinkies, ho-hos and potato chips are being thrown away.
But on the other hand, given what people eat, imagine how overweight Americans would be if they ate the food instead of tossing it?