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New Year, New Diet? Test Your Food Waste Knowledge Before Stocking Up On Veggies

Even though roughly 1 out of every 8 Americans faces food insecurity, almost 40% of food in the U.S. doesn’t get eaten.

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As we head into the new year and many of us stock up on fruits and veggies to support healthy-eating resolutions, we should all take a few minutes to think about reducing food waste.

Even though roughly 1 out of every 8 Americans faces food insecurity, almost 40% of food in the U.S. doesn’t get eaten. This means families spend hard-earned money, time, and energy buying more food than they need to. And at a time when climate change threatens us all, it’s crucial to minimize greenhouse gas emissions any way we can — including by limiting methane pollution emitted by unused food rotting in landfills.

No one plans to throw food away, but it can be tough to avoid. Take this quiz to review the problems around food waste and learn how to make progress on your new resolution, whether it’s to save money, make the most of healthy food, or live in a more climate-friendly way.

  1. How much money does the average 4-person family lose per year on wasted food?
    Pexels
    Correct
    Incorrect
    $15
    Correct
    Incorrect
    $150
    Correct
    Incorrect
    $1,500
    Correct
    Incorrect
    $15,000
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Answer: $1500

    According to the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, the average 4-person family loses $1500 per year on wasted food, throwing away over 2 million calories.

  2. Throwing out a pound of beef wastes the same amount of water as leaving your shower running for ________.

    Growing food takes a lot of water, therefore wasting food wastes a lot of water. For example, throwing out a pound of bananas wastes the same amount of water as leaving your shower running for 42 minutes.

    Correct
    Incorrect
    45 minutes
    Correct
    Incorrect
    90 minutes
    Correct
    Incorrect
    4 hours
    Correct
    Incorrect
    6 hours
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Answer: 6 hours

    Meat production takes up a lot of water resources, which means wasting just a pound of beef wastes nearly 800 gallons of water.

  3. Which of the following items are still edible?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wilted lettuce
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Bendy carrots
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Limp celery
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Flaccid broccoli
    Correct
    Incorrect
    All of the above
    Correct
    Incorrect
    None of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Answer: All of the above

    It’s okay and natural for produce to wilt with time, but smart storage can keep your veggies crisp for longer.

  4. How can you revive any of the veggies mentioned in Q3?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Whack them on the counter a few times
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Put them in the freezer for 30 minutes
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Soak them in ice water for 5-10 minutes
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Microwave them on high for 10 seconds
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Answer: Soak them in ice water for 5-10 minutes

    An ice bath will perk those veggies right up, and some produce (like asparagus) may benefit by adding a few tablespoons of sugar to the water. For more veggie revival tips, check out this storage guide. For ways to revive other food, check out these tips.

  5. Which of these veggies can be re-grown from scraps?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Green onion
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Celery
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Ginger
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Leaf lettuce
    Correct
    Incorrect
    All of the above
    Correct
    Incorrect
    None of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Answer: All of the above

    Save yourself a trip to the store (and some greenhouse gas emissions) by learning to regenerate your food. For more info, check out this article.

  6. What’s the #1 thing in America’s landfills?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Cell phones
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Food
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Plastic bags
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Fidget spinners
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Answer: Food

    Food constitutes about 22% of discarded municipal solid waste, according to the EPA. Landfilled food breaks down in big oxygen-less piles, producing methane emissions and driving climate change. To learn more about composting and how it’s better for the earth, click here.

  7. How much does the average American throw out daily?

    The food we waste is also wasted nutrition.

    Correct
    Incorrect
    3 grams of protein
    Correct
    Incorrect
    13 grams of protein
    Correct
    Incorrect
    23 grams of protein
    Correct
    Incorrect
    33 grams of protein
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Answer: 33 grams of protein

    That’s about as much protein as a 4 oz chicken breast or 5 eggs. To see what other health-supporting nutrients we toss in the thrash, check out this report.

  8. Which of the following groups contributes most to food waste in the U.S.?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Restaurants
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Office buildings
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Consumers
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Food manufacturers
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Answer: Households

    In a survey across 3 U.S. cities, NRDC found that households wasted more food than restaurants and caterers. On average, families threw away 3.5 pounds of food per person per week.

  9. In a survey of select U.S. cities, how much of the food thrown away was edible?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    2%
    Correct
    Incorrect
    19%
    Correct
    Incorrect
    35%
    Correct
    Incorrect
    68%
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Answer: 68%

    Though more than two thirds of food tossed was likely safe to eat, consumers cited “inedible parts” as the most common reason for throwing the food away — suggesting at least part of the wasted food could have been eaten.

  10. What can you do on a daily basis to reduce food waste?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Only grocery shop once a month
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Keep leftovers in the back of the fridge
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Make a list and check your fridge before shopping
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Cut fruits and veggies out of your diet
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Answer: Make a list and check your fridge before shopping

    Other ways to reduce food waste are: - Taking more frequent trips to the grocery store, buying a small batch of perishables each time you go - Moving older food toward the front of the fridge - Reviving limp veggies (see Q4) or use them to make soups, stews, and broth - Freezing things in portions so you can thaw/use them one meal at a time - Check out Savethefood.com for more creative food waste reduction tips.

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