Monday, September 3, 2012

The Forty Percenters

A 2009 study recently caused an explosion of media attention on how much food Americans waste.  If you haven't heard, up to 40%.  Counter-intuitively, as soon as I heard this I raced out to Super King and stocked up on those most perishable of items, fruits and vegetables.

I had just used the last of the fading string beans in a cold summer salad.  I had fed the cucumber and zucchini skins to the bunnies.  So, I like to think there's not a lot of waste in this household. 

But  forty per cent is a mind-boggling number!  It makes me think of the time a couple invited us for dinner.  They had ordered in boxes and boxes of Chinese food.  When we were done I thought appreciatively of the meals ahead they faced, of delectable leftovers.  I then watched the hostess rinse all the food down the sink.  Speechless, I couldn't muster up a plea for a doggie bag.

How about you?  Do you have tales of the 40 percenters?  Pardon me while I throw out the avocado the ants tackled last night, and toss the brown Mexican rice from a previous meal.  Are those blackberries sprouting fur?


  1. I have thrown out my share of food, but I do try to use what I have. I am big on leftovers and I do try to use what I have, and I have plenty of strange omelette stories to prove it.

  2. My area of waste is condiments. I don't think I've ever made it through a bottle of Thai curry. Once I use it in a meal, I tend to not want Thai for awhile. Then I forget when I last had it - then the better nots - then the trash

  3. We have a system for lunches of leftovers. We make extra for dinner so we have some for lunch, because neither of us likes to stop working to fix a fancy lunch.

    And now we compost. I am a composting fool.

    Plus: dog.

    Not much goes to waste around here.

  4. Okay, so if the four of us peg our waste at about, let's say a generous 15%--that means there are people wasting 65%! Amazing!

  5. I know a woman who carries her own lidded coffee mug and eating utensils wherever she goes, so she never has to use disposables. She rides her bike, takes her lunch, etc. I don't think I could do what she does.

  6. I heard this same report and was pretty astounded by that figure. I buy less at the store than I sometimes am tempted to (and end up shopping more frequently) because I don't like things to go bad. I plan meals in front of the refrigerator trying to use up stuff I have before I buy new batches of ingredients. But, I'm sure we still waste more than we should.

  7. B: I'm STILL trying to figure out a use for those faded berries...