Monday, March 28, 2011

Wasted Food: Another Mountain to Climb

A reader recently left a comment about wasted food, which, in the United States, is a staggering problem.

According to Jonathan Bloom, the author of “American Wasteland,” “Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption. That comes at an annual cost of more than $100 billion.”

Forty percent sounds bad, but the number is even scarier when translated into pounds. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates America throws away 66 billion pounds of food each year, while the recent documentary “Dive!” cites 96 billion pounds as the number. Either way, we have a problem.

Supermarkets, school and office cafeterias, restaurants, farms, private homes and catering companies are all guilty. Yes, some food is rescued for the hungry by groups like City Harvest, but the majority is thrown away and ends up in landfills.

The sad part is that much of the discarded food is completely edible. “Dive!” focuses on the needless waste produced by supermarkets. Here’s the trailer:

In private homes, I think a factor is many people's aversion to leftovers, which is downright silly. Also, letting food wallow in the refrigerator and not putting it in the freezer, which will preserve it, is another problem.

Do you have any other food-saving tips?


Reddishegret said...

We always cook enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch the next day. We put away leftovers as individual servings in glass containers so we can put them right into the microwave at work. I'd much rather have good leftovers for lunch than a sandwich....

Anonymous said...

I have a couple favorite recipes, but many times we have stew that uses the "odds and ends" veggies in the crisper. Same with "older" apples and quick bread. When lemons and oranges are languishing, I squeeze their juice into ice cube trays and freeze, then store for later use. I also discovered I can freeze unpeeled eggplant slices (stacked and separated with a sheet of wax paper) even though it is not "recommended". They need to be cooked before fully thawed, however, to retain shape. I do have a continuing problem, though, of not using lettuce and greens up as quickly as I should. But, getting better!