CRF Blog

How Much Food Do Cities Squander?

by Bill Hayes

In How Much Food Do Cities Squander?, City Lab reports on a study of food waste in three U.S. cities.

Across all three cities, coffee and grounds were the goods most often pitched in the trash, trailed by bananas (in Nashville and New York) and chicken (in Denver). Apples, bread, oranges, and potatoes also topped the list, as did discarded dairy products.

In the accompanying kitchen diaries, respondents described why they opted to jettison these scraps. Forty-four percent of participants said they were getting rid of inedible portions; 20 percent reported moldy or spoiled food, and 11 percent indicated they weren’t interested in the leftovers. Only 4 percent of residents noted that they’d discarded food because it was past the date printed on the label, though perceived confusion over inscrutable labeling practices has spurred legislation to standardize and streamline “best by” and “use by” language. [more]