Waste not, want not, is apparently not a term Americans are familiar with. The U.S. Department of Agriculture came out with numbers illustrating that, as a country, we throw out about 30 percent of our food. That’s $161 billion, or 133 billion pounds worth of food. According to Reuters, the food we waste the most is meat and poultry, followed by vegetables and dairy.[related]
This is an especially serious problem as Americans battle cuts in food stamps nationwide, and hunger takes center stage as a major issue. At the same time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1/3 of Americans are obese.
These numbers just don’t add up.
“Food waste is the single largest type of waste entering our landfills,” said Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe when he kicked off the Food Waste Challenge this year. Perciasepe went on to explain that food waste from landfills can decompose to create potent and harmful greenhouse gasses. “Addressing this issue helps to combat hunger and save money, while also combating climate change.”