food waste

More Than Half of Americans ‘Feel Bad’ About Throwing Out Food But Do It Anyway

Half of Americans say reducing their food waste would be “difficult.” Photo: Peter Dazeley

Well, here’s a depressing bit of survey data: This nation wastes $160 billion pounds of food each year, and while Americans feel kind of bad about that, it’s not bad enough for them to, like, do anything about it. A new survey conducted by research firm SSRS fleshes this out with lots of sad details, among them that more than 75 percent of Americans “feel a general sense of guilt when throwing away food,” but 40 percent “don’t have enough time” to worry about it, and about the same number never learned that food in landfills (a major contributor to global warming) is bad news for the environment. Experts were also dismayed to see people’s reasons for tossing stuff: Almost 70 percent of those polled throw out items after the date on the package passes, even though these dates are extremely arbitrary, almost entirely unregulated, and therefore largely meaningless.

Conservationists at least seem to be taking a glass-half-full approach to these findings. As one food-waste expert tells Bloomberg, now half of the population is vaguely aware that people are wasteful (even if they’re doing nothing to fix it), which “is a tremendous achievement.”


Americans ‘Feel Bad’ About Wasting Food But Do It Anyway