The Real Cost Of Food Waste

| 10/20/2015 9:34:50 AM


With the world population ever growing we need to produce more food to nourish more and more hungry people.  But sadly much of the food currently being produced is just being wasted.  According to the USDA an estimated 31 percent of our food is wasted in the U.S. at the retail and consumer level alone - that's a shocking amount of food being produced but never being eaten! Food waste occurs at almost every level, from production to purchase, and can present itself in many different ways - everything from produce culls in the field for veggies that are the wrong size or shape, to transportation losses, to dented cans or unsold fresh produce in the grocery stores.

Of course along with the wasted food there are many resources wasted to grow food that will never ultimately be consumed, including water/fertilizer to grow the food, manpower to harvest, fossil fuels to transport, etc. According to USDA, food waste is the single largest component going into municipal landfills, and not only are our landfills being filled to capacity but they're also creating a shocking amount of greenhouse-building gasses. 

Legal Protection For Those Donating Food In Good Faith

Some groups such as grocery stores or farmers markets may be apprehensive about donating unsold edible food for fear they could be sued.  But the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act protects those acting in good faith who donate food.  As long as the donor has not acted negligently they are protected and are not held liable in the event of unforeseen illness associated with their donation.  So don't throw away that unsold produce or the cans of soup that didn't sell as well as you hoped they would - DONATE THEM!  You can read more about the Good Samaritan Act here

Donate food tomato

U.S. Food Waste Challenge

In 2013 the USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency launched a program called U.S. Food Waste Challenge calling for a 50% reduction in food waste by the year 2030.  As stated on the USDA Website: "As part of the effort, the federal government will lead a new partnership with charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments to reduce food loss and waste"  Now there's a worthwhile program to get on board with!  You can find out more here —> USDA Food Waste Challenge.

12/2/2015 11:32:32 AM

I agree with both of ya'll.

10/25/2015 3:04:25 PM

Using plate waste for livestock is a great use for food that would otherwise be 100% wasted, Margy. I'm with you - it's a little sad that it probably couldn't be permitted in the schools today although I know some farmers find ways to use food waste to feed their animals. ~Tammy~

10/24/2015 11:20:33 PM

Back in the 70's I was an elementary school teacher in an urban area near Los Angeles. The fifth grade teacher had a mini-farm in the middle of the campus so the city kids could get to know what farm animals were like and where food really came from. We had a terrible problem with plate waste in the cafeteria. She bought a small pig and we raised it one year with waster from the cafeteria. When it grew to full size, it went to a farm. For exercise, after school we would close all the exterior gates and it got to go out of its pen and run free. I'm sure it wouldn't be allowed now with all the rules and regulations. And that's sad. - Margy

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