Food is a valuable resource and is often the center of our life’s celebrations and events, so why do we leave so much wasted? The average person wastes about a pound of food per day. Small amounts of food waste may go unnoticed from time to time, but households account for 38% of all food waste, which is more than grocery stores, restaurants or other sectors.
The true cost of food waste is hidden so that any time you throw food at home or in a restaurant, you are also wasting the energy, resources, water and labor that goes into growing, processing and transporting that food to your plate.
For example, the amount of water wasted when food is thrown away can be measured in minutes of bathing. One pound of bananas that end up in the trash is equivalent to taking a bath for 42 minutes. In contrast, one pound of ground beef is equivalent to a bath that lasts more than six hours!
Reducing food waste is a shared responsibility and we can all play a role in achieving our national food waste reduction goal – to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. Changing some habits in food planning, preparation and storage can help reduce leftover food in the home, save money, and protect the environment.
- Building habits takes time, including checking your kitchen food inventory before shopping. Buy your fridge, freezer and pantry in advance to avoid unwanted waste. Make a shopping list based on your weekly meal plan to avoid impulsive purchases.
- Pay attention to how much food is wasted during holidays and life events. Serve less food, try food-free events, or send leftovers home with guests.
- The restaurant serves large portions that can be easily shared or taken home for another meal. Avoid wasteful ordering of food by sharing meals, asking for containers to take away, or selecting items from the lunch menu and à la carte menu.