Food Waste Is Taking Over America

By Kate Holland, Staff Writer

Americans throw away enough food every year to fill 730 NFL football stadiums, according to “American Wasteland” by Jonathan Bloom. Food waste has been steadily increasing in the United States over the past century. A research study published in Plos reports that food waste has increased by 50 percent since 1974. A lot of perfectly viable fresh produce is discarded, because it doesn’t meet the strict aesthetic standards that have become normalized in American dining culture, and  this practice is a large contributor to food waste.

Tisch freshman Cam Tejada expressed her disappointment concerning food waste.

“With all the homeless people living in New York, it’s really disappointing to see resources going to waste,” Tejada said.

The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that Americans throw away 40 percent of the food produced in the United States.

We often base our diet on what we see. Before anything else, we look at our food to decide whether  it’s worth eating. From Instagram accounts dedicated solely to aesthetically pleasing foods to Facebook feeds drowning in Tasty videos, food has become just as appearance-based as anything else in our lives.

Students can minimize food waste by being more open to eating fruits and vegetables that may not be the most aesthetically pleasing but have the same nutritional contents as any other fruit or vegetable.

Steinhardt freshman Amelia Murray thinks that people are simply greedy.

“I think that the amount of food we buy is so disproportionate to the amount of food we eat, which makes the amount of resources we’re using unsustainable,” Murray said.

An important problem concerning food waste is the huge amounts of food from restaurants that are thrown out. A lot of food from retailers and restaurants is thrown away instead of donated. This is because it actually costs money to do that. Companies must box, store and ship anything they donate on their own time. It’s much less expensive to just throw extra food away, and companies cannot be blamed for being profit-driven.

This issue lies within the policies in place that make it difficult for businesses to donate extra food if they want to. Students can help by signing petitions and working for legislation reform that changes these economic hindrances on donating food.

CAS freshman Izzy Stein thinks that this gross wasteage of food is obnoxious.

“That kind of waste comes down to laziness,” Stein said. “Sure, it’s more expensive but in the long run it seems worthwhile.”

This practice has a huge environmental impact. Uneaten produce collects in landfills and produces massive amounts of methane, a gas about 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, according to MSNBC.

A company that can help students decrease their food waste is BuffetGo. The company aims to eliminate food waste by giving users the opportunity to eat the leftovers from buffets for a cheap price. Food that is still good can stop being thrown into the trash, and people can get a full meal for a cheap price.

Hunger and poverty are pressing issues around the world, and food waste is a growing problem in the United States. Thankfully NYU prioritizes food and water conservation and works toward the amelioration of extraneous waste.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 27 print edition. Email Kate Holland at [email protected]