Enlarge this imageSherri Erkel and her daughter, Asa, cook meal inside their kitchen area in Iowa Town, Iowa. The Erkel loved ones is part of an EPA analyze measuring the quantity of food items squandered in U.S. houses.Pat Aylward/NET Newshide captiontoggle captionPat Aylward/NET NewsSherri Erkel and her daughter, Asa, prepare dinner supper inside their kitchen area in Iowa Metropolis, Iowa. The Erkel spouse and children is an element of the EPA examine measuring the amount of food wasted in U.S. properties.Pat Aylward/NET NewsIt’s a warm summertime day outdoors Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He’s wading in to rotting greens, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Loads of tater tots. “You could get a lot of tater tots outside of educational institutions,” Chappelle states. “It does not make any difference if it truly is elementary, middle faculty or high school. Tater tots. Bar none.” Chappelle is really a reliable squander marketing consultant with Engineering Methods & Design in https://www.flamesshine.com/Tyler-Graovac-Jersey Kansas Town, Kan. Local governments hire his crew to literally sort through their garbage and find out what it is really made of. On this working day, he is trudging through Lincoln’s Bluff Road Landfill. “In the country you get more peelings,” Chappelle explained. “You get more vegetables.” A good deal of the squander he finds is food stuff from properties, restaurants, stores and educational institutions. “When you’re in the metropolis, you get yourself a good deal more fast-food containers with half-eaten meals in them,” Chappelle states. “A whole lot more pizza boxes.” Food stuff is the largest single source of squander in the U.S. More food ends up in landfills than plastic or paper.According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 20 percent of what goes into municipal landfills is food items. Foodstuff waste tipped the scale at 35 million tons in 2012, the most recent year for which estimates are available. More In This SeriesRead more stories in Harvest Public Media’s series on foodstuff waste.The Salt To Stop Picky Eaters From To sing The Broccoli, Give Them ChoicesThe Salt Supermarkets Waste Tons Of Meals As They Woo ShoppersThe Salt Everything But The Squeal: How The Hog Industry Cuts Foodstuff Squander The enormous amount of squandered foodstuff is weighing on our foodstuff system. “Forty percent of all the food stuff in this country never makes it to the table at a cost of $165 billion to the U.S. economy,” suggests Dan Nickey, a sociate director of the Iowa Squander Reduction Center, which works with busine ses to cut back on how much foodstuff goes into the garbage. There are tons of reasons for meals squander. Some crops are never harvested. Some foods are thrown out if they don’t meet cosmetic standards. Restaurants often prepare more foodstuff than they sell. And grocery stores pull foodstuff off the shelf when it starts going stale. Still, Nickey suggests, element of the problem is that consumers can afford to squander. “It’s so cheap to buy food stuff [that] we just look at it as a given, that it will always be there ‘I can go buy more tomorrow,’ ” he states. It’s a big problem, and Nickey tries to be realistic about solving it. “Zero food waste would be ideal, but that’s not reality, OK?” he claims. “If you’re in your kitchen and a water pipe bursts in your kitchen area, you’re not going to stop and think, ‘How can I use this water in a socially and environmentally responsible manner?’ No, you’re going to stop and turn the Brett Kulak Jersey water off. And that’s what we need to do first.” To reduce the food stuff heading to landfills, food companies, grocery stores and restaurants will have to take some responsibility. And many are. But many of us American consumers are not. “Forty to 50 percent of meals squander comes from consumers, and 50 to 60 percent from busine ses,” states the EPA’s Ashley Zanolli. She helped create a new program to teach consumers to be more efficient in the kitchen area. It truly is called Food: Too Good to Waste. Until it can be rolled out nationwide, a handful of cities are trying it out including Iowa Town, Iowa. That’s where Sherri Erkel’s relatives is part of a review measuring how much foodstuff people throw out in your own home. It truly is fajita night at the Erkel dwelling, and some half-eaten tortillas, picked over beans all the scraps are going into a green bucket on the kitchen counter. Once a week, Erkel pulls out the plastic liner to weigh what they’ve thrown out. “We’re at 4 pounds of food items waste for a couple days,” she states. “These aren’t watermelon rinds or anything, so that’s just food on our plate we didn’t eat.” The EPA’s Zanolli claims until they measure what they’re wasting, people often fault others for to sing out food. “It’s their brother-in-law who wastes so much food stuff, or, oh, my gosh, their neighbor down the street,” she says of consumer attitudes. “And unlike recycling, where you may create some peer pre sure by noticing whether your neighbor has their blue bin down at the end of the driveway, it truly is a little different with household behaviors.” To put le s foods in her green bucket, Sherri Erkel is following tips from the EPA. For starters, she plans her meals for the week and puts them on a calendar. And she uses that menu to make her shopping list. One tip suggests dedicating a shelf in the fridge for foods that wants to be eaten before spoiling. It boils down to buying what you need and eating what you buy. Saving money is an element of Erkel’s motivation, but so, too, is guilt: 1 in 7 families in the U.S. struggles with hunger. “Food production is not an i sue,” Erkel notes. “Like, we produce enough foodstuff, but we’re throwing away all this food items, and a mile away, people don’t have enough. So that’s kind of the first step, I think.” A step, she claims, toward taking personal responsibility not only for what’s eaten, but also for what’s squandered. This story is part of a series on foods squander from Harvest Public Media, a public radio https://www.flamesshine.com/Doug-Gilmour-Jersey reporting project focusing on agriculture and foods production.