It’s a question not a lot of people want to think about. Everyone is guilty of throwing away food but the question how much food do we waste per year?
Let’s break it down a bit to illustrate how much food (restaurants and consumers) throw away on average each year. According to Jean Schwab from the EPA, Food is the #1 material going into landfills/ incinerators today.
It is now estimated that 15% of the food in landfills come directly from restaurants.
- 3 cents on every dollar consumers spend on food outside of their homes ends up in the trash.
- On average 10% of food restaurants buy each year ends up in land fills.
- There is approximately 1/2 pound of food waste per meal served
The effects of throwing away food:
- Landfills are not infinite.
- As food spoils away in land fills it creates a methane gas that affects the climate and air quality in the immediate area.
We can’t be perfect. Food will go to waste. The biggest question to me is how much “edible” food is wasted each year. We live in a society of perfection, chefs want their veggies and plates to appear perfect but at what cost? I think it starts with a simple behavioral change, a mindset if you will.
Restaurants need to subscribe to programs that encourage saving food but in a safe manor. They need to develop a system for defining what is “good” and what is “bad”.
Thankfully systems like this are starting to arise, for example NRA has been developing its ConServe program as well Unilever with it’s United against Waste program.
To be clear I am NOT saying don’t throw away spooled food, I am merely questioning that a large % of food we throw away is simply not spoiled.