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Americans Waste One Third of Their Groceries Each Year

Americans Waste One Third of Their Groceries Each Year

It’s time to face the facts: Americans are throwing some serious cash straight into the dumpster. 

It’s no secret that Americans waste food.  Every year, 108 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States, and an estimated 40 percent of all food production is sent straight to the bin. Even more alarming, over one-third of this waste happened in our very own homes.

Many think that restaurants and grocery stores are the largest sources of food waste, but research shows it’s our own kitchens. Most people don’t pay close enough attention to expiration dates, forget leftovers at the back of their fridge or overstock their pantry.

“Preventing food waste doesn’t rise to the top of most people’s list of priorities,” said Roni Neff, an expert in food system sustainability at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. “While most of us really dislike throwing out food, we forget, we change our plans, we choose not to eat foods we don’t want, we take the path of convenience.”

Food waste doesn’t just hurt our bank accounts, too. Almost 25 percent of landfill space is occupied by food waste. Landfills bury the excess food, which eventually breaks down and generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. The food we waste accounts for roughly 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. As The Guardian put it, if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest contributor to climate change after the U.S. and China.

The U.S. government has set a goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030, and it looks like it’s going to require a lot of changes that start in our very own kitchens to see any kind of progress. 

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