I was recently emailed an article that illustrates the amount of edible food families collectively toss out each day . It’s shocking to see just how much we really throw away. While the study focuses on food waste in the United Kingdom, it is still a good indicator of wastefulness in general. The study uses the massive quantity of apples that are thrown out in the U.K. each day – approximately four and half million – as a key example. Just imagine how many are tossed out in the U.S. on a daily basis? It’s important to be a responsible consumer in both food quality and quantity. It’s irresponsible to take more than you’re able to use. The uneaten foods thrown out in the U.K. alone totals around 4.5 billion U.S dollars every year. This is a waste of food and money, and two wrongs don’t make a right. With the economic conditions as they are, it makes no sense to have a “hole in the bucket” because of the food budget. Growing, processing and shipping all that wasted food also puts an unnecessary strain on the environment.
Of the nearly 7 tons of food wasted in the U.K. each day, about 40 percent is produce. The study suggests healthy eating campaigns that encourage people to consume more fruits and vegetables as a possible cause for the waste. Encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption is a good thing, but it’s important to make sure the efforts aren’t lost in poor execution.
How Can I Avoid Wasting Food?
Take a good look at your shopping habits, are you buying more than you need? Consider scaling back on the amount you purchase. Buying fewer groceries more often is also a great way to avoid spoilage. Cook meals ahead of time, and then freeze them for later. Some foods can last up to a year when properly frozen.
If you still find yourself with extra food that you know is going to spoil before you can eat it, invite friends over to help you finish it. Find a food bank that can make use of it. Start a garden in your backyard, and grow your own organic fruits and veggies. If you compost the spoiled fruit and vegetables, you can then use it on your garden to help produce more food.
There’s always a better option than the trash can.
- Sean Poulter. Families throw away around one third of all the food they buy. Associated Newspapers Ltd. 2008 April 7.