Different surveys and statistic have emerged recently to pinpoint how much food U.S. citizens are in fact wasting.
The most recent survey, published on Wednesday and coming from TNS Global states that a number of 76 percent U.S. household throw away food at least once per month. The survey, conducted on behalf of American Chemistry Council also revealed that 53 percent of U.S. household throw away food at least once per week.
The numbers add up, yet they are not consistent with the general perception of the public regarding food being wasted. The same survey found that 70 percent of those questioned are deeply bothered by food waste across the U.S.
Even so, the overall estimates indicate that approximately 640 dollars per household are being thrown in the trash bin with wasted food.
Another estimate, coming from the U.S. governmental statistics place the wasted food at an overall amount of 900 dollars yearly per household.
What drives people to throw out food amounting to these sums seems to be a misreading of labels. According to Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and Natural Resources Defense Council which released a study in 2013, 90 percent of U.S. citizens do not read the expiration dates correctly.
This leads them to throw perfectly viable food and causes a loss of in between 640 and 900 dollars yearly per household.
Other causes must be factored in when talking of food waste, but a mashup between phrases which are intended solely for stores to regulate the life shell of products and phrases which are intended to tell consumers when the food product went bad causes a lot of confusion.
To this extent, the 2013 study concluded:
“It is time for a well-intended but wildly ineffective food date labeling system to get a makeover”.
Another recently published report comes to support this conclusions. Developed by researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the report finds that concerns surrounding food safety drive U.S. citizens to throw it out. A label reading “sell by” does not pinpoint that by that date the food goes bad, but that the store has to sell it by then. “Use by” is intended for consumers to know when food reaches peak.
Faulty labels and confusing language hold up the trend of food waste. Thus, 40 percent of food products in the U.S. end up being thrown away. This is indicative of a total loss of 165 million dollars yearly due to food waste.
A separate study found that only 15 percent of what end in the trash bin would suffice to feed a staggering 25 million Americans yearly. That is not to say food waste is solely plaguing the U.S. France for instance introduced legislation that bans supermarkets from wasting food by throwing it away.
Not only is food waste an economy drainer, but it is also a grave factor in environmental decline. The amount of food trashed yearly in the U.S. makes the country the largest contributor to the filling of landfills.
Yet, little seem to make the connection. Societal effects are more obvious than what food waste does to the environment.
Image Source: globe-net.com