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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

The High Environmental Cost of Wasting Food

Author: Guest Writer/Monday, September 24, 2012/Categories: Uncategorized

By Michaela Capps

Americans waste 40 percent of their food. Much of this waste is attributed to the fact that we treat expiration dates as infallible. Turns out expiration dates have a lot of wiggle room and don’t have much to do with food safety, more to do with “peak food taste.”

Of course food companies would err on the side of caution when creating these dates, but I sincerely doubt they’re being precautious for the sake of their customers’ health. They would rather I toss the food and go buy more, without any thought for the environmental impact, namely water, petroleum and fertile land misuse. In a fascinating interview about this subject on NPR, Dana Gunders, a scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told host Ira Flatow just how wasteful being a little wasteful can be:

“[W]hen we throw out, say, half a hamburger, according to an estimate by the Water Footprint Network, that's equivalent to taking over an hour shower, in the water use that was required (to produce) that half hamburger you just tossed.”

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