A new study has revealed that the average American consumer wasted almost half a kilogram of food per day over a seven year period. The study titled the “Relationship between food waste, diet quality, and environmental sustainability” was published in full, and explains that some previous studies that link diet quality and sustainability often don’t include food waste.
This new study tries to “address this important research gap […] examine the relationship between food waste, diet quality, nutrient waste, and multiple measures of sustainability: use of cropland, irrigation water, pesticides and fertilizers.”
Consumer habits of Americans between 2007 and 2014 were studied, and they found that food waste had used 30 million acres of cropland, 1.8 billion pounds of nitrogen fertiliser, 780 million pounds of pesticides and 4.2 trillion gallons of irrigation water.
These figures were gathered by the researchers using a biophysical simulation model on food waste and environmental sustainability and the “analysis finds that US consumers wasted 422g of food per person daily.”
Not only is food waste burning a hole in consumer’s pockets, the environmental maintenance costs are high. The study concluded that “practically, increasing consumers’ knowledge about how to prepare and store fruits and vegetables will be an essential component to reducing food waste.
“A number of important efforts have been proposed or are underway to reduce and repurpose food waste at the individual and institutional levels, yet further research is needed to better understand the comparative effectiveness of these efforts.”
What are your tips to help reduce food waste?