Food waste in America has grown 50% since 1974. Today, the average American household throws out 470 pounds of food every year, making it the largest component in our nation’s landfills.
Naturally, this speaks volumes about our culture. Just a few generations removed from war rationing and The Great Depression, Americans waste about 27% of food available for consumption, costing the average family of four roughly $600 a year, according to Supermarket News.
Supermarket News looked at Shelton Group’s Eco Pulse study and found that 39% of Americans feel guilty about wasting food. By comparison, only 7% felt guilty about not sticking to an energy-efficient thermostat setting, and just 6% felt guilty about using chemical lawn or plant fertilizers. So, we’re wasting an obscene amount of food and we feel bad about it.
Meanwhile, too many Americans are dying of obesity while others are starving. When will we learn to properly allocate our natural resources?
In related news, the decomposition of food waste in landfills produces methane, which is 21 times more powerful of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Thankfully, there are real answers to all these problems. First, we can reduce food waste through careful shopping and meal planning. Second, the organic waste we do produce can be turned into energy by biogas plants, like the one being built in NE Portland.