According to the food waste coalition ReFED, U.S. consumers are putting 27 million tons of food in the garbage on an annual basis. A study that was conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council analyzed waste of over 1,100 households in Denver, New York, and Nashville. The environmental group found that leftovers were the biggest source of edible food waste.
The average consumer wasted approximately 3.5 pounds of food each week. Of the food wasted on a weekly basis, inedible parts such as banana peels or chicken bones accounted for 35 percent. Prepared leftovers from a variety of sources were responsible for 23 percent of weekly totals. Fruits and vegetables accounted for 20 percent of total food waste. The least wasted foods were dairy and eggs at one percent, along with meat and fish which were responsible for three percent of weekly food waste totals.
The amount of food that is wasted ends up costing the economy roughly $144 billion a year through contributing to landfills and generating greenhouse gasses. A multitude of factors has contributed to the current level of food waste. Some consumers get bored by eating the same food more than once and others simply forget their leftovers are still available until after the food has spoiled.