want to help the environment? stop wasting food…

image from civil eats.com

you believe you are doing all you can for the environment. you recycle. you use the right light bulbs. you use your reusable shopping bags. maybe you’ve even embraced meatless mondays or went vegan or vegetarian. but according to jonathan bloom, there is one more simple thing you can do to help the environment:  stop wasting food.

according to mr. bloom – author of “american wasteland: how america throws away nearly half of its food (and what we can do about it)” (<- that’s a mouthful of a title!), about 40% of the food produced in america isn’t consumed. each day, americans waste enough food to fill the rose bowl. 40%. every day. seriously?

this isn’t only about wasting food. it’s about wasting the fossil fuel that went into growing, processing, transporting and refrigerating it. a conservative estimate is that nearly 2% of all u.s. energy consumption goes to producing food that was never eaten.

from his op-ed in today’s l.a. times:

To give you a sense of perspective, every year, through uneaten food, we waste 70 times the amount of oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico during the three months of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

then on top of that, add the fuel used to transport that waste to the landfill; the methane that is produced once the food starts decomposing (far worse than carbon dioxide); not to mention the guilt that should come to los angelenos for throwing away 18 million pounds of food per day, while the homeless and the poor in our city are starving or malnourished.

here are some simple things he says we all can do:

• Buy smarter. Plan the week’s dinners and make a detailed shopping list. Stick to the list; don’t buy more food than you can possibly eat before it goes bad. When planning meals, consider your reality. If you often don’t have time to cook dinner after work, don’t shop as if you do. And scheduling a leftover night is always wise.

• Rethink portion size. We have a warped idea of what’s a sensible amount to eat, in part because of what counts as a “serving” at restaurants these days. As a result, we often take or receive too much, prompting us to either overeat or scrape the food we don’t eat into the trash.

• Love your leftovers. If you’ve invested the money, time and energy in cooking, why not save the remaining portion? And remember, saving food only to throw it out a week later defeats the purpose. If you’re not a leftover lover, try halving recipes to prevent excess or repurposing your accumulated extras into another dish.

• Compost! Those of us without dogs (or pigs or goats) will always have some food waste. But we don’t have to send it all to the landfill. Composting, whether by backyard, worm or Bokashi bin or the indoor NatureMill, creates a usable soil amendment rather than methane. That way, you return your food’s nutrients to the soil instead of just throwing them away.

for more information, check out his terrific blog, wasted food.

this is a simple, money-saving thing we all can do!

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3 Comments

Filed under eco tips, food, modern living

3 responses to “want to help the environment? stop wasting food…

  1. Great post! I had no idea that 40% of the food produced in America is wasted. Staggering!! I do wonder what percentage is wasted by grocery stores throwing out food that has expired. I have become careful to buy only what we eat, but still some food does get wasted. We live in the country so any veggies that start to go bad are thrown in the pasture area to feed the deer. Your post made me realize there is always room for improvement, so I’ll be even more aware of what I buy and what we waste. Thanks for the great info!

  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing this!
    I wrote a post that you could find interesting: water footprint in fashion. You’d be surprised at how much impact your personal or family clothing preferences have on the environment.

    http://elenasc.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/water-footprint-how-the-fashion-industry-and-your-shopping-impact-the-planet/

    Thanks again!

    • hi elena,

      thanks so much for stopping by. i read your post and it was amazing and informative! i’ve added you to my subscription list and look forward to reading your blog!

      cheers,
      joyce

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