(KTSF by Jessie Liang)
In the U.S., people waste about 40% of all edible food. According to the “Journal of Consumer Affairs”, a typical American throws out more than 30% of fish and meat, 20% of vegetables, 18% of grain and dairy products, and 15% of fruit.
Dana Gunders, a specialist from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says, “The food waste is generated by food that goes bad in the fridge, it’s the rice that you make too much of or the leftovers at the restaurant that you don’t take home.”
Gunders says that the U.S. dedicates $90 billion per year to producing food that never gets eaten. The cost of wasting food includes not only wasting water, energy, packaging and transportation, but also, wasting consumer money. Gunders notes that $130 to $175 per month are wasted by the average American household of 4 people. Further, 34 million tons of food waste ends up in landfills and could release greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. If we reduced consumer food waste by 20%, 25 million more people could be fed.
Gunders says that in Chinese cultures, less food is wasted. She explains, “For instance, eating a whole fish, when you cook a whole fish instead of just using the filet. Also eating different parts of the animal like tongue or chicken feet. These techniques utilizes food that would be thrown out in many other cultures.”
There are easy steps to reducing food waste. For example, shop with a list, use anything that might quickly spoil first, request smaller portions at restaurants, take and eat leftovers, compost food scraps, and learn use-by dates for products. Gunders says that these use-by dates are “actually just our manufactures’ suggestions for the best quality, but typically, food can safely be eaten beyond those expiration dates.” Finally, freeze produce and leftovers if you don’t have time to eat them while they are still fresh.
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