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Groceries & Food

Why It Matters

The average American generates over 100 pounds of food waste per year, totaling around 14 million tons of food waste each year! 30% of the global food supply is wasted each year – equivalent to $1 trillion (retail) each year. BUT, in addition to the retail cost of that food, another $700 billion is thrown out in natural resources (including $172 billion in wasted water, $42 billion in cleared forests, and $429 billion in related greenhouse gas emissions costs), plus there are $150 billion in human health costs related to the use of pesticides and $280 billion in loss of livelihoods as natural resources become more scarce. You get it – food waste costs you money, and it costs society both money and resources. Waste less!

Top 5 Tips for Eating Earth-Friendly Groceries and Food

  1. Plan your meals ahead of time. Knowing what you’re planning to eat helps you buy only what you need and skip what you don’t, eliminating food waste (and wasted spending on food you didn’t need!).

  2. Group ingredients/styles of cooking. Instead of planning a week’s worth of recipes that each require their own unique set of exotic spices, try sticking with cuisines that share a similar flavor profile so that you can extend your ingredients to more than one meal.

  3. Make extras and eat/freeze leftovers. Save money on buying lunch every day by making a little extra at dinner and taking your leftovers to work for lunch. Or, pop them in the freezer for a quick meal when you need it down the road.

  4. Buy organic (at least when it comes to the Dirty Dozen - the 12 the most contaminated produce items). Not only can pesticides be harmful to human health, but the runoff of pesticides from farms can pollute water and cause serious ecological damage.

  5. Buy local/what’s in season. The farther a food item has to travel to reach your supermarket, the more carbon emissions and other pollutants are released into the atmosphere – almost 250,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions were released in one year shipping foods to California alone! If you’re interested in joining a local CSA, search for one nearby using this website: localharvest.org.

Digging Deeper

Watch this video about the real cost of food waste.

Peruse the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) resources on pesticides in produce – definitely check out the Dirty Dozen list and the Clean Fifteen list.

See Kris Carr’s tips on saving money while eating a healthy, clean diet.

Learn how to make your own weekly meal plan.