This one makes you think a bit. A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE puts a number on how much food Americans waste every year and suggests that it has large environmental consequences. The new data suggests that the average American wastes about one pound of food per day. That totals about 25% of all food by weight available for consumption in the U.S. — or about 30% of all available calories. That number just seems crazy to me. They go a bit further and propose that the cost of this waste is estimated to be equivalent to about 30 million acres of cropland, using 4.2 trillion gallons of water and nearly 2 billion pounds of fertilizer. The new research is based on a large-scale survey and cross-referenced with other federal data sets then amplified by modeling tools, so as to determine how much food we waste and how much environmental input that translates to. You can find the full study HERE . Some are saying there’s a possibility that the amount of total food waste could actually be larger than the researchers calculated, as the study focused only on waste by “consumers at home” or when “eating out”. It did not take into account industrial or commercial waste. Interestingly, the research found the most wasted foods are actually from higher quality diets. Fruits and vegetable represented 39% of the food wasted per person. Dairy and beef were the second and third most wasted foods, respectively. As for why the food is wasted, for fruits and vegetables in particular it is often the perception they are flawed, or have gone bad. For other types of food, answers ranged from too large of portion sizes to confusion about expiration dates. Of course, the “why” is always going to be difficult to answer. However, it is clear that food waste is becoming a more important question with the government and the media. With so many people pointing fingers at the producers and people at the beginning of the food supply chain, studies like this help show the consumers also have a lot to work on… (Source: PlosOne)
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