Take action against wasteful food habits

Have you ever thought about how much food you waste? I guess it is somewhat of a problem in every household when you get right down to it.

Tennessee’s Inaugural Food Waste Awareness Week is coming up April 4 – 9.

Since I saw this it has really got me to thinking about people’s wasteful habits when it comes to wasting food.

The USDA estimates that more than one-third of the food available in the United States is never eaten. This year, University of Tennessee Extension is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and others to encourage Tennesseans to be better stewards of their food resources.

When I think about food wastes, I think instantly about snacks. In a box of loose crackers how many people eat every last one. In my household there is generally always a handful or two left in the bottom that never gets eaten.

What about fruit? You put it in your fruit bowl with good intentions of eating all those apples or Cuties. As time goes on and you decide to eat something else, they begin to swivel or dry up. Out they go. Sometimes I throw them in the yard so wild animals can have a feast.

What about those vegetables you cook and have some left over. They go in the fridge with the intention of eating them tomorrow or the next day. If that doesn’t happen there’s more wasted food.

UT Extension encourages Tennesseans to rethink their food habits.

GetSmartTn notes there are many factors that lead to food waste in homes. The demand for variety, but the lack of knowledge on how to repurpose ingredients and store food properly leads to food spoilage. Unplanned food purchasing and buying in bulk account for 55 percent of food purchases, and often leads to food spoilage as well. A lack of standardization of date labels leads to consumers throwing away food before it is spoiled and accounts for 20 percent of home food waste. Additionally, many consumers have limited access to municipal organics food waste recycling and find barriers to composting at home.

Food waste in homes is the biggest part of the waste – 27 million tons with 10 million tons from farms, 1 million tons from manufacturers and 25 million tons from consumer-facing businesses. It occurs all along the food chain.

So think about that handful of snack crackers in the bottom of the box, those left over cooked vegetables in the fridge and those apples and oranges that have swiveled.

Rethink how to manage these food wastes and make better decisions about your buying amounts and cooking portions. Hopefully, attention to these matters will inspire people to take action against creating waste.

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