Married couple Grant Baldwin and Jen Rustmeyer spent 6 months eating only food that they gathered dumpster diving. Just as they expected, they lived to tell the tale. So what’s the deal? The couple – who made the documentary “Just Eat It” during this process – set out to discover the cause of food waste in the US.
An estimated 40% of food produced in the US goes uneaten. This is an approximate $165 billion waste of edible products. Yet 1 in 5 children in the US has an insecure source sustenance. How?
In the US retailers trash food for a number of reasons. A few reasons for spoiling food include appearance, incorrect labeling, and passing the expiration dates.
Surprisingly, though, the largest culprit of waste are individuals, not the industries. How do individuals attribute to 50% of the waste? For the average household, about a quarter of the food bought goes uneaten. Uncooked or unfinished dishes at restaurants, home, and disposal of uneaten groceries are all contributions to this epidemic.
Other sources of waste include public schools. Large amounts of food are distributed, but rarely finished. States like California actually have a decent surplus in products at food banks, but shipping the products to in-need states is neither efficient in preserving the food, or in cost.
Baldwin and Rustmeyer say that it all comes back to expiration date labels. The average US citizen, and US retailer see expiration dates as definitive spoilage. They are, instead, intended to be an approximate guide of freshness and stock rotation.
Expiration dates are definitive on only a few items in actuality.
Anyone can adhere to a few easy rules in their own home to reduce waste. Rustmeyer suggests an “Eat Me First” drawer. “That’s a bin in your fridge where you put things that need to be included in the next meal.” Her other suggestions are pretty simple as well!
Trust your senses, and remember the value of your purchases. By following these you’re on your way to a more conscious kitchen.
Featured Image via Nationswell.