Americans waste nearly 150,000 tons of food a day, equivalent to about a pound of food per person, a study said Wednesday, stating that fruits and vegetables were the products most frequently thrown away.
This food that went to trash was grown on nearly 7% of US farmland, and thousands of billions of gallons of water were used to produce it, according to an article in the newspaper PLOS ONE . It also corresponds to 30% of the calories consumed daily by each American.
Fruit and vegetables account for 39% of all these products, followed by dairy products (17%), meat (14%) and cereals (12%).
Products that are less likely to be discarded include chips, oil, sweets and soft drinks.
“Better diets are based on higher proportions of fruits and vegetables, which are wasted in greater quantities than other products,” says Meredith Niles, co-author of the study and assistant professor at the University of Toronto. Vermont.
“Eating healthy is important and brings many benefits, but the more we follow these diets, the more we need to be aware of food waste,” she added.
The study, based on government figures and surveys of food waste between 2007 and 2014, reports a “significant” impact on the environment and on farmers.
“This was a waste of crops produced” with more than 350 million pounds of pesticides and nearly a billion pounds of fertilizer “every year,” according to the same source.
Among the possible solutions to this problem, the study proposes to educate consumers to better prepare and store fresh fruits and vegetables, and suggests integrating efforts to prevent food wastage in government programs.
“Food waste is a multi-level issue,” said lead author Zach Conrad of the North Dakota Agricultural Research Service, which reports to the US Department of Agriculture.
“Addressing them holistically will become increasingly important in finding sustainable ways to meet the needs of a growing global population,” he added.