No brainer: Ending food waste could feed hungry and save money (Thinkstock)
No brainer: Ending food waste could feed hungry and save money
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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced a goal to cut the amount of food that Americans waste by 50 percent by 2030.
 
"The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on Earth, so too much of this food goes to waste," Vilsack said in New York City. He was joined by food-industry representatives and officials from the Environmental Protection Agency.
 
Vilsack likened the effort to reduce food waste to the anti-littering campaigns of the 1960s and '70s. Those shamed Americans for tossing trash out car windows.
 
"This is the logical extension," he said. "This is the next litter campaign."
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans waste 133 billion pounds of food every year. That is 31 percent of Americans' overall food supply.
 
Vilsack said other nations waste similar amounts and the U.S. must lead a global effort to use food more efficiently.
 
"This is an opportunity for us to make a statement and provide leadership," he said.
 
EPA officials said the massive waste is a problem not just because the food could feed the hungry but also because it ends up in landfills. That means it affects the environment.
 
"Twenty-one percent of all the waste in landfills is food," EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg said. "Once it's there, it produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas."
 
Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute, a food retailers' trade association, said the industry supports cutting food waste. That is because the industry operates on a "razor-thin" margin of 1 or 2 percent.
 
"Reducing food waste at all levels in the food chain - farm, factory, store and home - is certainly one of those issues with economic and emotional appeal," she said.
 
The officials spoke at a facility in Long Island City, Queens. It is operated by the nonprofit City Harvest, which started in 1982 as an effort to salvage excess food from restaurants. City Harvest now takes donations from businesses and farmers. Then it delivers it to 500 food banks and soup kitchens.
 
Vilsack toured the warehouse. It was packed with donated produce like carrots that were too big to sell and called it "truly inspiring."
 
He said the campaign to cut food waste includes educating consumers about how long to keep food before it must be thrown out.
 
He said he recently used the USDA's new mobile FoodKeeper app to determine whether chicken salad in his refrigerator was still good.
 
It was, and he ate it.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
If it's a no brainer, why do Americans waste so much food?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (62)
  • billiem-1-bar
    9/24/2015 - 08:07 p.m.

    There are many reasons why Americans waste so much food, but one point made in article was people not understanding when exactly food goes bad. The article also talks about a mobile app that can tell you if the food you have is still good. This would help to reduce food waste in the US.

    I found this article interesting because I did not know how much food was actually wasted each year. Learning 133 billion pounds of food is wasted each year was shocking. Hopefully people can learn to be less wasteful, because that would help the environment.

  • calis-3-bar
    9/24/2015 - 08:41 p.m.

    Even though it is a no-brained and that you shouldn't waste food, Americans still waste food because sending that food to landfills doesn't affect THEM. America has a tendncy to be selfish, which is proven by the fact that we waste food when others don't have any to begin with. "The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans waste 133 billion pounds of food every year. That is 31 percent of Americans' overall food supply." Although Americans are aware of the lack of food in other nations, they don't really care because it has no personal effect to them. I enjoyed this a article because I was able to link it to many things; including immigrants. This is an issue that, although it doesn't seem to be real aged, is almost the same problem. I enjoyed reading this article because I was able to link it to my current knowledge and broaden my perspective.

  • Brandon1231-YYCA
    9/24/2015 - 09:56 p.m.

    People are helping others by saving food and doing better things to themselves. The people are now making food stands and then giving people food that they don't need.

  • matthewp-6-bar
    9/24/2015 - 11:52 p.m.

    Americans waste so much food because we do not stop and think about wasting food.This is because we have enough food and don't have to worry about running out while other countries do run out of food.This is shown in the article by,"The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on Earth." My opinion about this article is that it is completely true that Americans should start thinking about not wasting and give extra food to the poor.

  • josiec-1-bar
    9/26/2015 - 11:30 a.m.

    Americans waste so much food because we do not appreciate our environment and don't see that if we don't protect the environment and our resources that we can one day loose all of it. My opinion is that Americans do waste a lot of food and it will affect us in the future.

  • carlym-4-bar
    9/27/2015 - 11:50 p.m.

    Americans waste so much food because Americans have so much food, that most of it goes to waste. It says in the article, "The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on Earth, so too much of this food goes to waste...Americans waste 133 billion pounds of food every year." I enjoyed this article because I found it interesting about how much food Americans waste.

  • emalyb-gau
    9/28/2015 - 11:00 a.m.

    this is such an inspiring story.

  • se2016-cla
    9/28/2015 - 12:08 p.m.

    We are lazy and don't usually think about our environment.

    This article taught me about why we shouldn't waste our food when we can give it to homeless shelters and near by food banks.

  • cc2016-cla
    9/28/2015 - 12:14 p.m.

    We usually just eat our food and throw it away not thinking about what it does to our environment.

    This article taught me about what throwing away food does to our ecosystem and what we can do to prevent it.

  • mf2016-cla
    9/28/2015 - 02:00 p.m.

    To me personally, it's sad that America wastes 133 billion pounds of food a year, but this articles tells us that there is hope for us. With these kind-hearted people's work, America can do more to feed the hungry and save our ecosystem.

    Americans waste so much food, in my opinion, because they know they have more coming next meal, and if they don't enjoy this food, it doesn't matter; they can simply throw it away. They feel like the food they are eating isn't good enough, so what is the point of eating it? This in turn waste a lot of food, and causes more food to be thrown in a landfill.

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