F is for Food Waste (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Mon, 06 Apr 2020

F is for Food Waste

I keep seeing people claim that 40% of consumer food in the US is thrown away uneaten, or hear statistics like 20 pounds of wasted food per person per month.

I simply don't believe it.

There's no question that some food is wasted. It's hard to avoid having that big watermelon go bad before you have a chance to finish it all, especially when you're a one- or two-person household and the market won't sell you a quarter pound of cherries or half a pound of ground beef. And then there's all the stuff you don't want to eat: the bones, the fat, the banana peels and apple cores, the artichoke leaves and corn cobs.

But even if you count all that ... 40 percent? 2/3 of a pound per day per person? And that's supposed to be an average -- so if Dave and I are throwing out a few ounces, somebody else would have to be throwing out multiple pounds a day. It just doesn't seem possible. Who would do that?

When you see people quoting a surprising number -- especially when you see the same big number quoted by lots of people -- you should always ask yourself the source of the number.

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[ 20:08 Apr 06, 2020    More science | permalink to this entry | comments ]