You probably didn’t know how bad food waste is for the environment

Published On

We may collect a share of sales from items linked to on this page. Learn more.

Almost one-third of all food produced in the U.S. In 2017 alone, for example, 103 million tons of food was ultimately thrown out. That kind of waste represents a serious problem for both the environment and your family’s pocketbooks.

Food waste, in fact, is the leading source of garbage in landfills and accounts for a staggering 17% of American methane emissions.

Much of the problem stems from the near ubiquitous Best-Before labeling systems, a voluntary measure introduced by manufacturers in the ’70s largely for shelving and inventory purposes.

These labels are not the final voice on food safety, but rather general estimations of a product’s freshness.

You can reduce your footprint, and your family’s grocery bill, by considering food before blindly tossing it out. Trust your eyes and nose when judging the quality of your food.

Hopefully these tips help you adopt new food storage practices!

  • Colin Rabyniuk

    Colin is a writer, journalist and freelance designer based out of Hamilton, Ontario. His writing has appeared on, Aesthetic Magazine Toronto, and the Oakville News. When not hard at work, Colin loves to travel, and has backpacked all over Latin America, the United States and China.

3 thoughts on “You probably didn’t know how bad food waste is for the environment”

  1. The large amount of fresh food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today’s tough economy and for the food retailers. There is no single
    cure, or silver bullet for food waste reduction therefore, we should address the food waste problem in every link in our food supply chain. For example, the excess inventory of fresh
    perishables close to their expiration on supermarket shelves, combined with the consumer “Last In First Out” shopping behavior, might be the weakest link of the fresh food supply chain.
    The new open GS1 DataBar standard enables applications that encourage efficient consumer shopping by offering him automatic and dynamic purchasing incentives for fresh perishables approaching their expiration dates before they end up in a landfill.
    The “End Grocery Waste” App, which is based on the open GS1 DataBar standard, encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that maximizes grocery retailer revenue, makes fresh food affordable for all families and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint.

    • App based incentives are definitely an interesting idea. I wonder if retailers would consider implementing your system in their own apps and rewards programs.

      In a past life I worked at a large grocery/department store, and once a week they would have a store wide purge of soon-to-be-expired food. It was terrible, but boosted the stores performance in head offices’ overall metrics..

      • Thank you so much for your informative comment. I was wondering what was terrible about the program you mentioned? Did it look like the black Friday?


What do you think? Leave a comment!