Tasty Trash: The $55 million Squawkfox Food Waste Challenge is a series aimed at helping your family save up to $1,500 this year by reducing food waste. The environment may also thank us.

I’m challenging you to stop wasting food.

Go ahead and give me the stink-eye or tell me I’m full of bunk, ’cause you never, EVER waste food and toss it out as junk.



food waste

According to a 2011 United Nations estimate, one third of the world’s food produced annually goes to waste. That’s 1.3 billion tons of food, people.

If you live in North America — a continent where food prices have risen 4.1% on a year-over-year basis (StatsCan) — chances are you regularly garbage your groceries.

A study by the University of Arizona in Tuscon shows that up to 50% of all food produced in the United States is wasted, while the Canadian Value Chain Management Centre says around 40% of all food is wasted, with over 50% of this waste happening in the home.

Given these recent numbers, we’re throwing away about 25% of our groceries each and every year. I Squawk you not.

Taste the price of waste

Wanna know how many dollars you’re dumping? Here’s the costly mathy math:

Canuck Bucks: Canadians spend an average of $7,262 per household on food each year (StatsCan). If 25% of all food is wasted at home, then every Canuck household could save around $1,800 a year by garbaging less grub.

U.S. Greenbacks: American households spend an average of $6,129 on food annually (BLS). Trashing 25% fewer meals brings home a savings of $1,532.25 each year.

Bottom Line: By refusing to refuse up to 25% of your grocery haul, North Americans could save up to $1,500 every dang year.

But it’s biodegradable

Chucking out that leftover chicken or tossing that wilted lettuce may not seem harmful, but it is if you’re the environment.

When food rots, it releases carbon dioxide and methane, greenhouse gases which impact global climate change. According to this study: The Progressive Increase of Food Waste in America and Its Environmental Impact, food waste now accounts for more than one quarter of our total freshwater consumption and around 300 million barrels of oil per year.

Your leftover lunch is not only filling up our landfills, but it’s likely increasing your total tax bill too. For example, in Toronto, taxpayers spend nearly $10 million a year to dispose of food waste that’s not composted.

More composting, less guilt?

Don’t congratulate yourself too loudly for scraping your dinner scraps into the compost bin. Turning your less-loved leftovers into soil may feel virtuous, but you really haven’t accomplished a thing.

Composting doesn’t prevent food waste. Sticking leftovers in a green bin not only fails to cut your grocery costs, but composted food still burns through the same oil and water resources before hitting your garden.

Yes, I love composting, but isn’t it better to prevent the waste in the first place?

The $55 Million Squawkfox Food Waste Challenge

I’m challenging Squawkfox readers to stop wasting food. I’m calling this food waste series, Tasty Trash: The $55 Million Squawkfox Food Waste Challenge.

I figure, based on our 37,000 regular readership, we could save a combined $55 million by cutting an average of $1,500 from each of our food waste totals.

Yes, you read that right. That’s FIFTY-FIVE MILLION dollars saved, by you guys, by not wasting food.

That’s some serious moolah for a frugal blog audience. It’s good for the environment too.

How are we going to do this?

Over the next few weeks I’ll share a few tools, methods, and ideas to help you save A LOT of money by not wasting food. This series will challenge you to peek in your pantry, flash open your fridge, and defrost your freezer. Are you making food storage mistakes? Perhaps you’re leaving perfectly good leftovers to languish? This will all be covered.

I’ll also share my food organization tools that have helped my family reduce waste. And food spoilage? That’s also a big waster, so we’ll tackle that topic too. I might even do an experiment, or two.

So stay tuned to the Tasty Trash Challenge, ’cause together we might just save $55 million, and that’s not a figure worth trashing.

Your Turn: So, are you joining in?