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Americans Toss Out 40 Percent of All Food

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posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 02:44 AM

Americans Toss Out 40 Percent of All Food

U.S. residents are wasting food like never before.

While many Americans feast on turkey and all the fixings today, a new study finds food waste per person has shot up 50 percent since 1974. Some 1,400 calories worth of food is discarded per person each day, which adds up to 150 trillion calories a year.

The study finds that about 40 percent of all the food produced in the United States is tossed out.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 02:44 AM
I had no idea we tossed out this much food! I had a hunch quite a bit was wasted but this absurd, and we should be ashamed of ourselves...seriously! People are starving out in the world and yet we waste so much...shame shame. The next time I go to throw out some uneaten food I'll think about this article.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 02:51 AM
Doesnt surprise me, when I worked at Pizza Hut we were throwing away a 3/1 ratio of pizzas and ingredients. I used to take home about 15 pizzas at the end of every night with permission because they were destined to the trash if I didnt.
I know some stores near is were throwing out a 5/1 ratio of food.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 02:55 AM

Originally posted by Happyfeet
Doesnt surprise me, when I worked at Pizza Hut we were throwing away a 3/1 ratio of pizzas and ingredients. I used to take home about 15 pizzas at the end of every night with permission because they were destined to the trash if I didnt.
I know some stores near is were throwing out a 5/1 ratio of food.

Retail food outlets dump tons of food every day! I took a look at a waste log from a Subway once just out of curiosity. A weeks waste could have feed me for a month! And fed me well for that matter, or at least better than I was doing at the time.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 04:07 AM

ScienceNOW, an online publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, reports that food waste occurs at the manufacturing level and in distribution, but more than half is wasted by consumers,

I don't buy it, i think that more than half the food wasted is from the manufacturing and distribution levels.

And the way that they came up with those firgures leaves something to be desired.....

The new estimate of food waste, published in the journal PLoS ONE, is a relatively straightforward calculation: It's the difference between the U.S. food supply and what's actually eaten, which was estimated by using a model of human metabolism and known body weights.

They're estimating.

Last year, an international group estimated that up to 30 percent of food - worth about $48.3 billion - is wasted each year in the United States. That report concluded that despite food shortages in many countries, plenty of food is available to feed the world, it just doesn't get where it needs to go.

Bolding mine.

And there it is, the big bad Americans are starving the rest of the world.

I can't afford to buy the food I need, let alone waste any of it.

Maybe if they would change the laws and allow retailers and restaurants to donate food to the hungry instead of forcing them to throw it away there wouldn't be so much food wasted.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 04:33 AM

Originally posted by Happyfeet
Doesnt surprise me, when I worked at Pizza Hut we were throwing away a 3/1 ratio of pizzas and ingredients. I used to take home about 15 pizzas at the end of every night with permission because they were destined to the trash if I didnt.
I know some stores near is were throwing out a 5/1 ratio of food.

Holy crap, I would so be getting heart failure in a week from that.

That is epic!

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 06:10 AM
Food is probably one of the most wasted resources on the planet.

I know all too well about the retail stores - me and my housemate nip down to our local Sainsbury's and Iceland a couple times a week for a root through the bins.
Heck we went last night and got enough to feed our house through the weekend, and then some.

Probably about £50 worth of food.
And thats just the shops - if I have leftover food I keep it for a stew or something.
Our next door neighbours on the other hand, their bin is always overflowing wiht scraps and absolutely reeks of rotting food.

And just think what else this ties in with - helping supermarkets keep prices high, all the wasted resources in producing and transporting said food -

as an environmental science student, I think I've just figured out a great talking point for next time we have a discussion on waste...

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 06:21 AM
reply to post by selfisolated

as an environmental science student, can I ask is it ok to put all your waste food into a composter. This is what ive been doing recently, with left over food, no meats, just bread, eggs, fruit and tea bags. I have a special bin for these scraps, but thought chucking it in with my compost would be more environmentally friendly?

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 06:55 AM
Well gee, what's the alternative here? Eat everything on your plate and get fat and become a burden upon the up-and-coming socialist government health care system? I suppose they are going to blame this waste upon us fit and trim folks next? Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 07:38 AM
hmm well i tend to think i blame places like COSCO, where you buy in bulk* buying in bulk, though sems cheaper, its imposible to eat i dont know 50 lbs of bacon in a month!!! you could but def scheduled for insulin or liver detox appointment. so much food is packaged into big boxes and werappers, that it isnt used as fast. theirfroe! the landfill.
Thier was an articel a year ago in local paper, about how college kids, go to resteraunt dumpsters, and take what they throw out...not necessarliy plates of un eaten food, but stuff that has maybe 3 or 4 days oeft of shelflife, someone ordered a plate of food, changed thier miind...yuode be suprsied what you find... they wont touch already eaten food..thats gross

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 07:44 AM
That's because everybody in America forgot how to cook and they then go to a one size fits all kind of meal...even places like Olive Garden is just meal in a bag...rather then each member of a family contributing to the old American tradition of preparing a meal together on a daily basis and then having family time together around a meal.

I am guilty as charged of the above as well.

Not to knitpick, just to explain a little of the above.

If you put x amount of energy into meal preparation the appreciation of the meal corresponds to the energy placed in a meal.

For example a day over a hot stove, AFTER, gathering eggs, picking and cleaning produce from a garden, butchering your own meat, all activities I grew up around gives you much more appreciation for your food.

It gives a person a feeling of humility raising the food you end up eating.

ie...raising a calf to a heifer and then butchering it gives a different perspective to an individual as opposed to going to a restaurent or grocery store and buying beef.

So then we end up wasting food easy as we think its like buying toys at toyrus or we think of food as a trip to Walmart or Safeway. Our whole nervous system first leval of geared around shopping.

Think about that.

[edit on 27-11-2009 by whiteraven]

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 08:45 AM
This topic has raised it's ugly head since I was child. It was happening then, and before then, and continues. It's dispicable, and it's done on every level. It sickens me every time I have to even throw out a banana.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 08:52 AM
We're just eevillll.

I always buy an extra bag or two of food so I can throw out a little more every day.

Then I rub my hands together and do the evil genius laugh.

It's great.

Then I go kick some puppies.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 08:57 AM
While I can't put an exact percentage on it, I myself have witnessed what some restaurants and food markets throw out, perfectly good food in their dumpsters. Yet I've also once witnessed a security guard send a homeless person away from trying to take what some people would consider garbage. I walked up to the guard and told him that was a mean thing to do and it wasn't like it came from his pocket and it was considered trash. I was basically told to go mind my own business. Makes you wonder. By the way the Salvation Army and food bank where I live is always crying for donations and the stores would rather throw out still good food than donate it. I really don't understand all this.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 08:59 AM
reply to post by Divinorumus

Well in a sense yes. By all means eat everything on your plate. If you worry about getting fat don’t overload your plate.

Very rarely do we toss out any food here. The only foods that get tossed here are those we have paid for and decided we do not like. When I make a meal we eat what is on our plates the leftovers are eaten the next day or days.

I was raised that you do not throw food out unless it is bad. If it was edible you ate it. The only part of that I have changed is the fact that now I throw out any foods I do not like, which does not happen often.

Of course we were pretty poor when I was growing up so food was respected. Not to mention other foods were raised or hunted.


posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 09:24 AM
By law restaurants must throw away any left over food for that day. They can not serve left overs. Go to a KFC or any fast food restaurant close to closing time and intercept all the goodies before they hit the dumpster. You could even talk to a grocery store manager to find out when they throw away blemished and partially rotting vegetables. You just cut off the bad part and eat the rest. Going hungry in America is actually hard to do if you know what to do.

I want to start a compost bin just so I can turn my egg shells and vegetable scrap into fertilizer. Grass clippings have nitrogen in them so they make for great composting material.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 09:45 AM
reply to post by alyosha1981

There is too much waste and we are all to blame.
1.Grocery stores...A customer, at the checkout,finds a small hole on a
package of meat wants another package.The store can't repackage that
meat because someone handled it,it gets pitched!
2.Restaurants...Quite a few of them won't allow any leftovers to be taken
home.I have seen trays of chicken,salads,breads,cookies,all thrown away.
3.Our homes...We get too focused on the expiration dates on our foods.
We also don't learn how to properly deal with leftovers.Canning and
freezing leftovers are the best solutions.Since we always cook more than
we need.I would suggest making smaller portions,that would reduce the
waste and your waist.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 11:05 AM
While I have no doubt a significant amount of waste occurs, I am skeptical of the methodology employed in this study:

ACTUAL STUDY: The Progressive Increase of Food Waste in America and Its Environmental Impact

Food waste contributes to excess consumption of freshwater and fossil fuels which, along with methane and CO2 emissions from decomposing food, impacts global climate change. Here, we calculate the energy content of nationwide food waste from the difference between the US food supply and the food consumed by the population. The latter was estimated using a validated mathematical model of metabolism relating body weight to the amount of food eaten. We found that US per capita food waste has progressively increased by ~50% since 1974 reaching more than 1400 kcal per person per day or 150 trillion kcal per year. Food waste now accounts for more than one quarter of the total freshwater consumption and ~300 million barrels of oil per year.


The food balance sheets provide a comprehensive assessment of the national food supply, including alcohol and beverages, adjusted for any change of food stocks over the reference period [8]. Since 1974, there has been a progressive increase in the per capita US food supply. Over the same period, there has also been an increase of body weight as manifested by the US obesity epidemic. We sought to estimate the energy content of food waste by comparing the US food supply data with the calculated food consumed by the US population.

Energy from ingested food supports basal metabolism and physical activities, both of which are functions of body weight. Surplus ingested energy is stored in the body and is reflected by a change of body weight. Because the average body weight of the US population has been increasing over the past 30 years, it is not immediately clear how much of the increased food supply was ingested by the population. Quantifying the food intake underlying an observed change of body weight requires knowing the energy cost of tissue deposition and the increased cost of physical activity and metabolic rate with weight gain. Here, we develop and validate a mathematical model of human energy expenditure that includes all of these factors and used the model to calculate the average increase of food intake underlying the observed increase of average adult body weight in the US since 1974 as measured by the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

Honestly, that seems so riddled with assumptions, I think the result is likely grossly inaccurate.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 12:26 PM
I deliver produce for a living and we get three tractor trailers of produce delivered to our warehouse in a week.
Sometimes perfectly good produce is sent to the compost simply because it is not retail quality or is not sold, usually perfectly good produce is tossed simply because room is needed for the new stuff.

A word of advice, if you think produce is expensive (of which part of the cost is most likely a waste subsidy, you pay for what is wasted) and wish to get good free produce find out where produce distribution warehouses pitch their compost and dig around through that.

Guaranteed you will bring home good tomatoes, lettuce, watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews, onions, and lots more.

Take my advice, find out when truck days are at a food warehouse, produce is pitched on the day before a truck day usually, follow the delivery vehicles near the end of the work day, and see if they are making a dump, or call them up and tell them you want compost for your garden, or for your pigs and cows, they will be happy to dump it on you!

Excellent advice people, take my word for it.

PS, I always make it a point to clean my plate, I hate wasting food, knowing there are others out there who would kill to eat my leftovers.

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 12:34 PM
They also didn't include all the dogs, cats and other pets that get to eat their owners leftovers either which would amount to millions a day easily.

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