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Help the Planet: Stop Wasting Food

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Organic Transitions Campaign page.


Let me guess: You're concerned about the environment. You recycle, buy the right light bulbs, drink from a reusable water bottle (preferably one made of metal) and wish you could afford a hybrid. You try to remember your reusable shopping bags when you go to the market and feel guilty when you don't.

But there's something you could be doing that would make a much bigger difference, and it's not one of those really hard things like carpooling to work or installing solar panels on your roof.

All you need to do is minimize your food waste. If you buy it and bring it home, eat it. That alone is one of the easiest ways to aid the environment.

About 40% of the food produced in the United States isn't consumed. Every day Americans waste enough food to fill the Rose Bowl. And our national food waste habit is on the upswing: We waste 50% more food today than we did in 1974.

Squandering so much of what we grow doesn't just waste food; it also wastes the fossil fuel that went into growing, processing, transporting and refrigerating it. A recent study estimated conservatively that 2% of all U.S. energy consumption went to producing food that was never eaten. To give you a sense of perspective, every year, through uneaten food, we waste 70 times the amount of oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico during the three months of the Deepwater Horizon spill. 


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