The United States seems to have a severe issue wasting food. Studies show that Americans waste approximately $165 Billion in food each year. That comes out to about $2,200 wasted per household. That quantity comes out to about 33 million tons of food or 66,000,000,000 lbs (that’s a lot of zeros). Americans have apparently subconsciously adopted the, “If I can’t have it nobody can,” mentality.
According to Dana Gunders, a National Resource Defense Council Project Scientist, “the amount of food Americans waste has increased 50% in the last 40 years”. Gunders also stated that, “portions on average have tripled in size since the mid 1980’s”. It appears that despite America’s insatiable appetite, our stomachs still can’t keep up with our eyes. However, it is possible that expiration date confusion may be a contributing factor to our massive national food waste. Many of the terms used to indicate our foods’ “safety” actually refer to the quality and taste of the product instead. Some commonly used terms that fall into this category are “Sell By”, “Best if Used By”, “Use By”, and “Guaranteed Fresh”. For a more comprehensive breakdown of this information, visit WebMD.com.
For the rest of Americans who are simply being wasteful, I beg you to please be more conscientious. According to Gawain Kripke, a research and policy director for Oxfam America, the price of American crops (such as corn) has a huge impact on the international price of the crop due to the global nature of food trade and economics. Therefore, when we waste food in the United States, we are really wasting a global resource. Americans are essentially throwing food in the garbage that would otherwise keep hungry people from starving in other parts of the world. Plus, wasting food is horrible for the environment. Besides the methane formed by decomposing food, it takes a lot of energy and resources to grow, cultivate, and transport food. To go through that entire process for a product that is never even consumed is extremely irresponsible. For the sake of our wallets, environment, health, and the health of countless others worldwide, we must be more thoughtful of the food we consume and waste.