Waste occurs throughout the supply chain, with nearly 83% occurring downstream at consumer-facing businesses and homes.
In the US, 25% of all household food purchases is thrown out, with an annual waste of up to $2,200/household, and one-fourth of available land and water.2 That is enough food to feed every needy American!
40% of all food produced in the US is wasted, 30% is wasted globally3.
Food waste by households occurs as a result of over-preparation, over-serving, food spoilage, and miscalculation of food expiration.
On Being Mindful of Food Waste
Intention – Love for the earth, respect for yourself and home. A strong and clear intention plants a seed of mindfulness that will grow if we water it with our attention.
Awareness – Can we be curious about observing our habits- and our environment? Eventually we may see our habits so clearly that changing them will be easy.
Investigation – reflect: “why do I keep buying kale when I never eat it? Or: oh I tend to choose detergent in plastic but let me see if there’s one in cardboard…” Investigating habits/alternatives can change our habits and bring creativity to our home care routine.
Effort- This can be a reminder to cook or make a meal plan, or devote an afternoon pre-making meals. Consistent effort is particularly supported by reflecting on our intention.
Action – All these factors support skillful action when we shop, cook, eat, and store our food.
Challenge the Culture of Abundance
- Over-serving at parties and restaurants to avoid shame of ‘serving just enough’.
- Overstocking shelves by grocers to simulate abundance.
- Overstocking buffets by restaurants to increase appetite.
- Next time you go to a restaurant, ask them to reduce their plate size or buffet size, to buy local and seasonal, to re-purpose and preserve leftover / scraps, to understand food labels, to compost, and/or to [missing text]
- Freeze food to extend life. Include a little water to prevent freezer burn. Freeze before the end of food’s life. Freezing stops decay, doesn’t reverse it.
- Buy local and seasonal to get food that hasn’t traveled far and will stay fresh longer.
- Order less, or reasonable portions at restaurants
- Buy ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables from ‘seconds’ distributors
- Know how to interpret food labels appropriately
- Re-purpose food leftovers. Eat what you have vs what you are in mood for
- Plan out meals and use a shopping list vs buying on impulse • Survey your refrigerator to buy what you need vs getting what you already have.
- Think before you throw your food scraps. Salvage leaves, roots, and other edible parts
- Cook more. Use real food vs processed food to increase the value of food and reduce food waste.
- Compost food scraps and cheaply fertilize your vegetable / flower gardens
(In the US, 25% of all food purchased is thrown out, with an annual waste of up to $2,200/household, and one-fifth of available land and water. This is enough food to feed every needy American. 40% of all food produced in the US is wasted, 30% is wasted globally):