Simple Sustainability Stats

Courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems

U.S. adults are overweight or obese
68%
Children 2-19 are already obese
17%
Good food wasted today
26%
Good food hauled away to landfills
15%

If you happen across a photo of people from the 1970s, you’ll notice one thing. Pretty much everyone is a normal size. Look around today and you’ll see what research proves. More of us are fatter than normal sized. In fact, 68% of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Even more worrisome is that 17% of children 2-19 are already obese.

Bad as those numbers are, there’s a contradictory and darker side. For most of the last century, leftovers were a mainstay of the American diet. Think Great Depression and ration cards of WW II. Yet today while seven out of ten adults eat too much, we throw away more edible food than ever before! For the record 26% of good food is wasted today, fifty percent more than in 1970. i.e. We wasted less food back then, and we weighed less.

No need to mention how damaging obesity is to health because everyone knows it. So you’re thinking, ‘Isn’t it better to throw food away than to eat it?’ Not if we want a sustainable world for future generations. Good food pitched in the garbage makes up 15% of what the big trash trucks are hauling to our dumps.

So how about saving money and solving this food-wasting problem? First, buy fewer groceries and see how good yesterday’s meatloaf is warmed up. It gets better. Hauling and dumping that 15% of trash costs every single American $455 a year. Reduce your grocery bill, get acquainted with your grandparents’ fondness for leftovers, and now we’re talking some real money.

Not to mention our country is running out of room for dumps.