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


Food Tips:

(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):