Even if the Americans agree that food waste is wrong, they cannot figure out how to avoid throwing away food.
A new survey with 500 participants showed that 77% of them felt guilty because they throw away food, but 51% said they could not figure out how to reduce the food waste.
The statistics say that 80 billion lbs of food reach the garbage cans each year in the US.
While being a waste of resources, throwing away food has an adverse impact on the environment. It produces 35.2 million tons of solid waste, and it’s the largest source of solid garbage in the US.
The authors of the study explain that food waste generates a significant amount of greenhouse gasses that originate from solid waste management.
The survey shows that 87% of the Americans believe they waste less food than the rest of the people in the US. The authors of the study explain that people think that someone else’s is guilty, even if everyone does it their contribution is always lower to the general evil.
“I think a lot of people think when you throw away food it’s natural; it decomposes. What’s so bad about that? But they haven’t thought about once you put it all together in a landfill it creates methane, a pretty potent greenhouse gas,” said Brian Roe, study co-author and agricultural economist at The Ohio State University
People are interested in three things involving food waste.
The first one would be that throwing out food implies decreasing the risk of foodborne illnesses. This is the case with food that passes package date.
A second one would be the lack of freshness and flavor, which also makes them feel guilty about throwing out food. 58% of the respondents believed that it was bad for the environment, and 42% of them thought it was a waste of money.
A third issue was related to the relation between throwing food and the perception of household management. 24% said they did not have time to worry about food waste, and 53% stated that buying a lot of edibles in one shopping session makes them throwing out more food.
The researchers discovered that a lot of Americans throw away food based on the “sell-by” and “use-by” dates on the label, even if the dates are not always related to food safety. The periods indicated on the label are not accurate indicators of when the product becomes unsafe to eat.
The awareness on food waste increased last year, adding up 10 points to the percentage revealed by a previous study. However, the researchers believe that the awareness is still low.
While increasing awareness on the issue may not automatically reduce food waste, there is a possibility that people will change their behaviors and start to take up habits like measuring food waste that could lead to improvements.
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