As if we needed more evidence that Americans can be a short-sighted, consumer-driven, wasteful lot, a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council says Americans are wasting - literally throwing away - up to 40 percent of the country's food supply each year. That total amounts to $165 billion in uneaten sustenance.
For those playing at home, that's a whole shit-ton of food to be throwing away.
The National Resources Defense Council report also shows the average American family of four wastes $2,275 in food each year, which equates to roughly 20 pounds per person per month. Not surprisingly, the report also indicates that your run-of-the-mill American throws away 10 times as much food as a consumer in Southeast Asia. As noted by the LA Times, since the 1970s, the amount of uneaten fare that is dumped in our country has increased by 50 percent - with food waste making up the largest class of crap filling American landfills.
Aside from being gross and depressing, these wasteful food habits have real consequences.
From the LA Times:
Half of American soil and many other key resources are used for agriculture -- the Natural Resources Defense Council says wasted food eats up a quarter of all freshwater consumed in the U.S. along with 4 percent of the oil while producing 23 percent of the methane emissions.
Nutrition is also lost in the mix -- food saved by reducing losses by just 15 percent could feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables.