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Food Waste

Dixie Schexnaildre

Have you ever considered how much waste your family produces over the course of a month? According to the NRDC, approximately 20 pounds of food waste is produced, per person, each month. (Gunders, 2012).

Over the past year, my family has made a strong effort to reduce consumption (measured here only in weekly trash set to the curb) and food waste. One can feel incredible guilt and the tendency to over-eat, when you are aware of the mass starvation happening worldwide. Harming ourselves and our bodies isn’t going to disperse food to the needy, but growing up with ‘Clean your plate’ and ‘There are kids starving in Africa, eat up’ philosophies may create habits in a child that need to be unlearned -in order to create new mindful eating habits as adults.

One tip that has helped our family in this effort is portioning leftovers into freezer-safe containers and enjoying them at a later date (which usually become unidentified grab-and-go work lunch surprises!). This alleviates any mental pressure to continue to eat after satisfaction. Another thing we do is ‘zero down’ our pantry before allowing additional grocery purchases (exceptions in winter when we can not predict Midwest weather phenomenon which could keep us inside for a few days at a time).
When we moved into our current home about two years ago, I purchased only a mini-fridge since most of our food is fresh produce. I walk to the grocery to pick up only what we can eat within 3-4 days at a time and this strategy has helped us significantly minimize our waste from food rot. Any scraps or rotting items we DO end up with are placed into our compost for the next year’s garden.

I think it’s imperative that we each stay conscious of our purchasing choices -whether it’s from a cruelty-free , no animal leathers or fur products rule you have set for yourself or a packaging reduction perspective. I believe if we all do our part, we can slow the destruction of our Earth until we find better solutions than landfills to hold our billions of tons in annual waste. According to The World Counts, that number is 50 tons per second. (2016). http://www.theworldcounts.com/counters/waste_pollution_facts/household_waste_statistics#embed-box
I’d also encourage you to read this release: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf
It’s an incredibly detailed document with thought-provoking waste statistics.

I’m curious- what are some efforts your family is making to reduce consumption and waste? Let’s help spark a wave of change with tip-sharing for individuals, families, and/or community efforts to reduce that 20 pounds of waste per-person, per-month to a minimal number!


Gunders, D. (2012). WASTED: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its > Food From Farm to Fork to Landfill. Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf

The World Counts. (2016). Household Waste Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.theworldcounts.com/counters/waste_pollution_facts/household_waste_statistics