What would you say if I told you I threw $10 in the trash?
You’d probably say something like “why would you do that? Do you think money grows on trees? If you don’t want money, give it to me!”
The idea of throwing money in the trash is ridiculous, right?
Now let me ask you this: what would you say if, instead of throwing $10 in the trash, I told you I threw a block of cheese or loaf of bread in the trash? Or dumped a gallon of milk down the drain?
Chances are, you wouldn’t have such a strong reaction. But here’s the thing: throwing cheese, bread, or milk away is throwing money away. And if you can’t afford to throw actual dollar bills in the trash, you can’t afford to throw food away.So why do we do it?
I recently watched a documentary called “Just Eat It“, a film that follows a Canadian couple as they investigate the issue of food waste. And I watched it on Super Bowl Sunday, funny enough, a day that is basically centered around eating large amounts of food, much of which is probably wasted.
Figures vary slightly depending on the source, but nearly 40% of food produced in the United States is never eaten, i.e., wasted. There are a lot of reasons for this, but collectively, consumers are primarily responsible for that large amount of food waste. That counts the groceries we buy and the food we order but that goes uneaten in restaurants.
So why does food waste matter? Because if you consider all of the resources that go into growing food, it really adds up. According to the Water Footprint Network, it takes the same amount of water to produce a hamburger as it does a 90- minute shower. That’s right, an hour and a half under that warm, hot, shower. So imagine if you threw that hamburger in the trash. That’s a lot of water. And depending on how much you paid for that hamburger, it could be a lot of money too.
Food waste is preventable but the truth is that it’s easier said than done. There are so many reasons why we waste food. I am guilty of this too. I throw out way too many bags of greens, order too much at a restaurant or take too much food when I’m a guest at someone’ s house. But I’m starting to implement some checks and balances into my life to reduce the food I waste, and of course, I’m bringing Josh along on the ride too.
So, over the next few months, I’m going to write about our efforts to reduce food waste, both at home, at restaurants and when we are visiting someone’s home. To help, we’ll be using the book, the “Waste Free Kitchen Handbook: A guide to eating well and saving money by wasting less food“.
I will cover grocery shopping, meal planning, food storage, food preservation and dining out in this series, and more. I’d like to achieve zero food waste, but my approach to this type of thing is intention, not perfection, so I really just want to be more mindful of my shopping and eating habits and to share them with you.
How about you? Do you waste a lot of food? If you have any particular questions or things you want some advice on as I’m writing this series, let me know and I’ll try to cover it.