Monday, May 19, 2008

Do you know how much food you waste?

Seeing the misery the food crises is causing worldwide, and feeling first hand the effects of rising food prices, this article in the NYT has shocked and saddened me.

Grocery bills are rising through the roof. Food banks are running short of donations. And food shortages are causing sporadic riots in poor countries through the world. You’d never know it if you saw what was ending up in your landfill. As it turns out, Americans waste an astounding amount of food — an estimated 27 percent of the food available for consumption, according to a government study — and it happens at the supermarket, in restaurants and cafeterias and in your very own kitchen. It works out to about a pound of food every day for every American.

A more recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Americans generate roughly 30 million tons of food waste each year, which is about 12 percent of the total waste stream. All but about 2 percent of that food waste ends up in landfills; by comparison, 62 percent of yard waste is composted.

The numbers seem all the more staggering now, given the cost of groceries and the emerging food crisis abroad. (NYT via Boing Boing)

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