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What you can do about the 40% of food that is wasted

December 22, 2012 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment  
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A recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states:
Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S.
land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the
United States today goes uneaten. This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165
billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S.
municipal solid waste where it accounts for almost 25 percent of U.S. methane emissions. Reducing food losses
by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year . . . “
These figures point out how wasteful many of us are in the use of our natural resources. But it’s not just us as individuals, but also in the operations of the food delivery system and corporate and big agriculture practices as well.
Though we as individuals can’t do much to immprove the corporate and agriculture practices in the short term, we can take steps to be more efficient in our personal habits and practices–which would be both beneficial to the environment and to our wallets.
Shop more efficiently: Plan your meals and make a list of the ingredients you need for those meals, resisting the urge to buy items not on your list, on sale, or on a whim. Much of this ends up in the dump when it isn’t used. Buy only what you can use before it goes bad.
Know how long food will last before spoiling. Canned food, for instance, lasts much longer than the date stamped on the can by the manufacturer. Look at this chart
http://www.hellawella.com/infographic-whats-that-smell-how-long-food-really-lasts-in-the-fridge/4873
to see how long various foods will last in your frig before they become suspect.
Don’t mistake cosmetic blemishes on produce for reasons not to buy. The visual perfection has no bearing on whether it is edible and/or safe to eat.
Use your freezer. If you end up with more food than you can eat, stick it in your freezer where it will last much longer. But don’t forget to look in that freezer for leftovers that you can resurect for a quick meal instead of shopping for more food.

landfillA recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states:

Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste where it accounts for almost 25 percent of U.S. methane emissions. Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year . . .

These figures point out how wasteful many of us are in the use of our natural resources. But the blame is not just heaped on us as individuals, but also in the inefficient and self-serving operations of the food delivery system, and wasteful corporate and big agriculture practices as well.

Though we as individuals can’t do much to improve the corporate and agriculture practices in the short term, we can take steps to be more efficient in our personal habits and practices–which would be both beneficial to the environment and to our wallets.

Shop more efficiently. Plan your meals and make a list of the ingredients you need for those meals, resisting the urge to buy items not on your list, on sale, or on a whim. Much of this ends up in the dump when it isn’t used. Buy only what you can use before it goes bad. And with the limited storage space of RVs, it will work out a lot better is space utilization.

Know how long food will last before spoiling. Canned food, for instance, lasts much longer than the date stamped on the can by the manufacturer. Look at this chart to see how long various foods will last in your frig before they become suspect.

Don’t mistake cosmetic blemishes on fruit and produce for reasons not to buy. The visual perfection has no bearing on whether it is edible and/or safe to eat.

Use your freezer. If you end up with more food than you can eat, stick it in your freezer where it will last much longer. But don’t forget to look in that freezer for leftovers that you can resurrect for a quick meal instead of shopping for more food.

For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (PDF or Kindle reader version). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.

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