It took dumpster diving for me to realize that food waste in the U.S. is an absolute fiasco.
Find out what led me to go around dumpster diving in the first place on this Green Divas Radio Show Green Dude segment. Then read on for more details…
You may have already heard a few appalling facts about wasted food, but just in case you haven’t, here are a few tidbits of information to catch you up on the issue:
~ We throw away 165 billion dollars worth of food per year in America. That’s more than the budgets for America’s national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined.
~ Thirty one percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten. Grocery stores were responsible for throwing out 10 percent of that.
~ About 50 million of our 317 million Americans are food insecure yet we produce enough food to feed over 500 million Americans.
~ To create just the amount of food that ends up in the landfills we waste enough water to meet the domestic water needs of every American citizen.
Even with these mind-blowing statistics, you probably still need to see it to believe it. That’s where I come in.
I’ve been in the bottom of around 1,000 dumpsters in 25 states across America to show people what Americans are throwing away. And it’s good stuff.
This is what a typical dumpster score looks like:
In major cities across America I have hosted Food Waste Fiascos in which I went out dumpster diving, usually just for one night, and set up my find in a public park the next day. Many people were shocked by what I showed them and even more were angry, not at me, but at the waste of our society when millions of Americans are hungry.
I had just a few days at most in each city to pull these fiascos together.
Here’s what my friend Dane and I managed to scrounge up in Madison, Wisconsin in two days:
I found a volunteer via social media with a vehicle to help in each city since I couldn’t carry all of the food on my bicycle.
This was is what we gathered in Chicago, Illinois:
None of the volunteers even had dumpster diving experience and I was completely new to the dumpster scene in each city.