Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday Food Waste Challenge 2012

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how much I can't stand wasting food. When I was doing research for my book, I learned that the average North American family wastes a full 25% of the food they buy. Yes, really. That's a shocking amount of money that's wasted on food that never gets eaten (if your monthly grocery bill is $800, that equates to $200 a month down the drain).

Aside from the fact that wasted food = wasted money, the environmental impacts of throwing out food are staggering. When you consider all the water, soil, and fertilizer used to grow that food and the fuel used to transport it to you, it soon becomes a mind-boggling amount of resources that are being wasted on food that never gets eaten. If wasted food is tossed in the trash rather than composted (and unfortunately, the majority of it is), the decomposing food then becomes a huge producer of methane gas.

I've become more and more determined to make people aware of this important issue as my own awareness of just how big and how widespread a problem this is across the continent has increased. Nearly 50% of the food that's grown in North America is wasted, about half before it reaches us consumers, and the other half after it's lingered in our refrigerators for too long. Actually, from garbage studies that have been done by various researchers, a significant portion of the food that's tossed from our homes isn't even spoiled!

The good news is that this is a problem we can all address, since half of food waste is occurring in the home. Although I have yet to achieve the holy grail of 0% food wasted on a regular basis, our family's food waste is minimal, and I've found that most of the time it's not a big deal to prevent food wastage *if* you have key food management strategies in place. Grocery shopping effectively, storing food properly, and using leftovers strategically are all key pieces of the puzzle when it comes to reducing a household's food waste.

As we head into the holiday season, there is likely to be even more food than usual in our homes, and a larger than normal potential for wasting it. So, I thought this would be the perfect time of year to get you all thinking about ways you can avoid tossing out food. I'm issuing an official Holiday Food Waste Challenge starting today and finishing on New Year's Day. How close to zero can you keep your food waste over the holidays? 

During the challenge, I'll be sharing photos of my family's food waste, as well as tips and strategies for keeping that waste to a minimum. I'm hoping you'll join me by sharing your own tips, too - either in the comments or via email if you want to remain anonymous (you can send them to abundanceonadime AT gmail DOT com).

Let's make this a festive *and* food-waste-free season!

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  1. This is topic that also makes me CRAZY so I will definitely be participating here in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks for keeping this important issue in the public eye.

  2. Do you think that participating in commercial food waste recycling grand rapids mi can make sense for a small restaurant? How do you clear and explain this?


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