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Food Waste: We Leave Tons to Rot


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Blog post by Mike Brandolino

We’ve all been there before. A big party or a holiday gathering ends, and then we must come to grips with excessive calories, trying to give away the extra food, and gathering up piles of plastic plates and cups. We may have had a great time feasting with our families and friends, but was all that excess really necessary?

All through the year, massive amounts of food are discarded in landfills in the United States. Not just from homes, but from grocery stores and restaurants as well. Much of this “waste” is still perfectly edible and, as the documentary Dive shows, still packaged. Why do we as individuals and a nation discard so much food? Is it just an automatic response? Are we too busy to find a happy home for the leftovers? Maybe many people do not think of food waste as a problem, because they assume it will biodegrade in the landfill (it won’t).

If you sometimes find yourself throwing food away, whether it’s from your fridge or at a buffet, you can take the first step by being aware of it. What usually goes to waste? When do you forget to eat food before it spoils? Does it help to put a date on your leftovers? Try to avoid buying too much at the grocery store. Defy the assumption that heaps of food is what makes a party, and ditch the throw-away party supplies while you’re at it.

Many supermarkets have a means of contributing to local shelters and food banks. Sierra Club Green Home recommends setting aside the excess food you would have bought, and donating it to these charities. You’ll create less waste, and someone who needs more food will get a bigger serving.

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