Americans Waste an Insane Amount of Food

The average American household wastes $1,500 worth of food each year. Though most Americans believe they waste half that amount, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that we waste a lot more than we think.

If you are reading this, chances are you’re guilty of buying produce and other groceries that you ended up never using and throwing out. According to a recent survey conducted by TNS Global, over half of American families threw away leftovers and food they bought and didn’t use.

The cumulative amount of food wasted from American households costs Americans $161.6 billion annually. This doesn’t include the amount of food wasted at restaurants, buffets and stores. The report generated by the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) calculated that 31-40% of the American food supply goes to waste.

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That’s a pretty big number of lost meals, but we also waste resources growing the food that we so nonchalantly toss into the garbage bin — approximately 30% of fertilizer, 35% of fresh water, and 31% of cropland that is used to grow food in the United States is ultimately wasted. Not only are we expending our energy and efforts to grow food we don’t eat, but we are also putting a huge strain on our environment.

So the next time you sit down for dinner, ask yourself: Can you really handle that second scoop of mashed potatoes? You wouldn’t want to bite off more than you can chew.

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