FOOD WASTE: More than 130 billion pounds thrown away every year

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Friday, November 20, 2015
More than 130 million pounds of food waste thrown away every year
Rebecca Jarvis reports.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Mom always said, "clean your plate," and as we head into the holiday season, many people are already thinking of what to put on the menu.

But here's some food for thought? You may be throwing away your money, and the problem appears to be in the kitchen.

Saucy by Nature, a restaurant in Brooklyn, focuses on zero waste. And that means when the catering business finishes a wedding or corporate event, the leftover ingredients go to the restaurant instead of the landfill.

"We were ending up with surplus ingredients," owner Przemek Adolf said. "We don't just have to be driven by money and profits."

And when it comes to your refrigerator, studies show Americans are throwing out more than 130 billion pounds of food every year.

"Forty percent of the food that's grown is wasted along the trail from farm to fork," Sustainable America executive director Jeremy Kranowitz said.

And it's not just wasted food, but wasted money. Experts say $371 per person spent on food ends up in the trash, and multiply that for a family and it can add up to thousands of dollars each year.

And what is worse is that there are still many people who don't have enough to eat.

"One in six Americans goes hungry," Kranowitz said. "And so we have this very odd juxtaposition."

At Revive Foods in San Francisco, the focus is on food rescue, turning overripe or ugly fruit that's still perfectly edible into products like jam.

"It's not just a social problem, it's not just an environmental problem," founder Zoe Wong said. "It's not just a economic problem, it's all of them."

Simple steps can help you limit or even eliminate your food waste. When you eat out, ask for smaller portions or share with friends. At home, take stock of what you have before you go grocery shopping.

And watch where you store things. For example, keeping onions and potatoes together shortens the shelf life of both.

Another simple way to save is to check those best by labels on your groceries. They aren't hard and fast rules, just recommendations for retailers. For example, on your eggs, the date means it's still good for another three to five weeks.

The only thing that requires a date label for safety is baby formula.

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