The holidays are bearing down upon us with all the associated festivities: get-togethers, gift-giving, and grand meals with friends and family. No holiday feast seems complete without heaping portions and overstuffed bellies, so unfortunately our annual turkey day and Christmas traditions often come with an extreme amount of food waste. But while these traits were once unique to holiday celebrations, it seems that at least some of our festive excesses are finding their way into our daily routines.
This month we asked you: What percentage of food that enters our homes is never consumed?
A. 10% B. 15% C. 25% D. 35%
The correct (and shocking) answer is C.25%! Congratulations to our green quiz winners: Louise Burkhardt, Eric Karch, & Karen Selden!
Americans are wasting more food than ever in grocery stores, restaurants and in our homes. The amount of food wasted overall, about 27% according to government studies, works out to around a pound of food wasted per American, every day!
According to the NY Times, a quarter to half of all food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten: "...left in fields, spoiled in transport, thrown out at the grocery store, scraped into the garbage or forgotten until it spoils." It's hard to fathom this kind of waste when there are so many without food in our own country and overseas! There are also health implications. As fresh produce and meat is allowed to spoil in our refrigerators, the probability that we'll turn to processed foods and restaurant meals increases significantly.
So what’s the impact of all of this extra waste on the environment? Not surprisingly, our careless habits are taking a serious toll on our energy supply. Wasting food translates into a lot of wasted energy and resources used to produce and distribute food products. From farm to fork, increasingly large amounts of fossil fuels are being used to process, harvest, and transport our food. In fact, it turns out more energy is used to produce our food than our food yields in return!
Equally shocking, if Americans stopped wasting food altogether, all of that saved energy would add up to about 2% of our annual energy budget, or the equivalent of 350 million barrels of oil.
So what you can do to cut down on food waste this holiday season and year round?
First and foremost, plan ahead and stick to it. If you’re hosting the family get-together this year, think ahead and prepare a detailed list before you hit the grocery store. Practice this food budgeting for every day shopping and meal planning, too.
Practice portion control. One slice of pie per guest is more than enough – there’s really no need to have every variety. Poll your guests to assess what their favorite dishes are and plan accordingly. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you later.
Save your leftovers. There are so many creative uses and recipes for traditional holiday courses.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Green Quiz Answer - Holiday Feasts & Food Waste: