As the epidemic of food waste in America reaches dire levels, our concern for food sustainability and recycling has grown steadily.
A new study by British publication The Guardian estimated that around half of all fruits and vegetables grown in America are wasted. This number comes from several agricultural experts who claim that between consumers throwing away more than just scraps, and a wholesale obsession with selling only aesthetically perfect produce, around 50 percent of fruits and vegetables end up in a landfill or as feed for cattle.
“It’s all about blemish-free produce,” Jay Johnson, who ships fresh fruit and vegetables from North Carolina and central Florida, told The Guardian. “What happens in our business today is that it is either perfect, or it gets rejected. It is perfect to them, or they turn it down. And then you are stuck.”
That lost food can total about $1,600 of wasted income for a family of four each year.
But despite alarming numbers associated with food waste, there has been a pushback movement: Supermarkets are offering incentives to buy “ugly fruit” – produce that’s bruised or misshapen. There has also been an increase in popularity of zero-waste restaurants and pop-up dinners from chefs like Marcus Samuelsson who are committed to a brighter and greener future.