The NRDC, an environmental advocacy group, is saying that almost half of food in America ends up in a landfill — about 20lbs per person per month. That’s 50% higher than in the 1970s and 10x as much as is wasted in Southeast Asia. Fully 50% of fruits, vegetables and seafood are thrown out, about 38% of grains, and 20% of meat and milk. (Which is ironic, because if we ate all of those fruits, vegetables and seafood, the entire country would probably be fit as a fiddle.) That excess could feed 25 million people but instead, the resources that go into making it — energy, land, chemicals and 25% of all fresh water — are also wasted. The food then sits in a landfill, where it produces 25% of all methane emissions. It also enables notions like Freeganism, in which people go dumpster diving for their dinner.
This, of course, is a problem caused by economics: food is so cheap, that we can easily afford to throw it out without thinking twice about it. It’s one of the unintended consequences of economic policies from the 1970s, when the government decided to start subsidizing large farming corporations, with the good intent of making so food cheap that no American would starve. The other unintended consequence: all the cheap food is also causing the current obesity epidemic.
- The Obesity Epidemic Is Caused By Overabundance Of Food
- Food Expiration Dates Are For Quality, Not Safety