The first three paragraphs of this article sum up the problem nicely. This is a very important point. In our house, I’m a rampaging soldier when it comes to not wasting food. I even consider it a failure if I have to put something in the compost. If it’s edible, we eat it. If we don’t eat it right away, I preserve it until we do. I freeze trimmings from produce to make stock with them.
We even try not to waste restaurant food. If we don’t eat everything (and we rarely do), it comes home for another meal. Sometimes two more meals given the size of portions in some restaurants.
This is also why I have no sympathy for California’s big farmers. They complain furiously about water rationing, without any acknowledgement that they are growing the food completely the wrong way. And frankly, they are growing too much food. Sure, maybe they manage to sell everything to stores and distributors, but almost half of it spoils or isn’t bought by the consumer, or the consumer throws it away.
All that, and we still have hungry people in the world. No sir, I’m not at all impressed with the argument that America ‘s “conventional” agriculture is feeding the world.
Anyway, here are the first three paragraphs of the linked article. The whole article is definitely worth reading.
We Americans worry constantly about how our appetites affect our waistlines, but we spend almost no time wondering how our food consumption affects our waste streams. In the United States, 40 percent of the food grown each year is discarded uneaten. That’s a significantly higher amount of waste than the global average, which runs around one bite of food thrown away for every two bites eaten.
As a result, food waste is the single largest source of refuse heading for American landfills. Once buried in a landfill, discarded food decomposes anaerobically and creates methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
And of course, growing all that food just to throw it out wastes water. According to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.S. wastes 50 cubic kilometers of irrigation water each year growing food that’s never eaten. That’s about one-fifth the total output of the Ohio River where it flows into the Mississippi. And growing that uneaten food also means wasted fossil fuel and pesticides: About 300 million barrels of oil globally go into growing, transporting, and preparing discarded food each year.