Knee Deep in Food [Waste]

Wasted food wastes money

Between 25 and 30% of  food purchased by American families is thrown out.  What a waste!

As I started tracking  this data point, I found that perhaps 50% of the food grown in the US is trashed before it gets to the family kitchen.  Then the waste continues as food goes stale, or is left over and not consumed, or is simply scraped off the plate into the trash.

Not only are we talking wasted money, but the environmental issues are significant.  We expend fresh water and chemicals to grow the food;  petroleum to transport it; then land fill to dispose of it.

There’s more energy in wasted food than in the Gulf of Mexico, claims one writer ( I didn’t do the math…).

Not surprisingly, there’s a long established blog on the subject WastedFood.com.  It’s the talk of world politics and international science.

How did we get here?  Could it be….

  • Food is relatively cheap, so we don’t pay attention
  • We’ve lost skills use food odds and ends in meals
  • We’re caught up in the convenience and hype over fast food
  • We envision portion sizes from a prior century

Since all you and I control with respect to this issue  is our own refrigerator and our own wallet,  let’s take this discussion down to the kitchen level.

The IRS budget standards are much on my mind, since they underlie the infamous bankruptcy means test. When you owe taxes, and by extension, creditors, the IRS says you can/should spend $752 a month on food for a family of four.

If we assume that 25% is wasted, eliminating waste could result in a monthly savings of $188or $2256 a year.  Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, as my mother says.

So, let’s be on the look out for ways to better manage our shopping and our pantry to reduce what we throw out.  There have to be better ways to spend $2256 a year!

Image courtesy of Sporkist

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Author:Cathy Moran

Cathy is a lawyer in Northern California, where she's run her own small firm for over 30 years. A certified consumer bankruptcy specialist, Cathy pioneered the use of the Internet as a means of educating people about their debt relief options. Her clients have educated her about money.

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