1.5
March 17, 2009

What to do about all the Wasted Food? ~ via Megan Gray

What to Do About All of the Wasted Food?

by Megan Gray

Let’s face it; we live in a disposable world. Everything from diapers to computers are made to be used once, or for a short amount of time, and then thrown away. We then rush on down to the store to buy more of what we just tossed into the garbage. This isn’t just a problem in America, it is a problem worldwide. Our world has become this global arena of a ‘buy more and use it less’ attitude. This crazy scheme doesn’t just pertain to electronics and personal care, but is also a major player when it comes to the food we do and do not eat.

When it comes to food, “Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption. That comes at an annual cost of more than $100 billion. At the same time, food prices and the number of Americans without enough to eat continues to rise,” states Jonathan Bloom, author of the blog Wasted Food. With his research and insight journalist Jonathan Bloom uses his site to educate people on food waste and what they need to do about it.

In reading his blog I really started to think about all of the food we wasted on a daily basis. I don’t know how many times my husband has gotten upset because I threw away food, that was still good, just because it had expired the day before.

“Did you smell it? How did it look?” my husband would ask.

“I don’t know. I just saw the date and threw it out,” was my usual reply, which he always returned with a scowl.

What can I say? Before I found the Wasted Food blog I had no idea what those dates really meant. In one of his posts, Bloom explains what the sell-by/use-by dates really mean and also what they don’t. He says that generally, “most foods are fine one week past the sell-by date. Of course, this varies between products…That’s why smelling the item is a more effective guide than any date stamped on the package.”  (I guess my husband can do the ‘I told you so dance’ now.)

Looking back I can only imagine the amount of food I have thrown away that was still good. Not to mention how much food the whole world throws away because of those pesky sell-by dates.  Well, never fear, here are some tips to help prevent us from wasting food from now on:

*Plan ahead before going grocery shopping. – Choose recipes and write down exactly what you need and try not to stray too much from your list, if at all.

*Eat smaller meals, so as not to have a lot of leftovers.

*If you do have leftovers make sure you save and eat them.

*Don’t throw food into the garbage. Compost it instead.

Needless to say, as consumers we want the newest and best products that seem to make life easier.  We need to remember, however, that the short term rewards of a few extra minutes saved, or the desire to buy all new food when there is plenty of good food still in the refrigerator, is not worth the long term effects those decisions have on our planet and future generations.  It is a lifestyle change that is not an easy one to make but one that is absolutely necessary for our world and our collective conscience. 

  ~ Megan Gray.

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