Waste not

Who would have guessed that if we wasted less food, we would help the planet big time.

Americans waste nearly 40 percent of all the food produced in the United States, while recycling only 3 percent of it, according to Jonathan Bloom, who wrote “American Wasteland.”

That means 97 percent is ending up in landfills. And that’s not good.

“When we send food to landfills, it rots and emits methane which is a greenhouse gas that’s more than 20 times as potent as trapping heat as carbon dioxide,” he said. “So essentially we’re aiding climate change through our waste bins.”

The solution, of course, is to waste less food  and compost what food we do waste. Besides Mother Earth, there’s another good reason to do that. You’ll save lots of money.

The average family of four throws away $2,200 worth of food a year, Bloom said on a recent Clark Howard consumer show on the Headline News channel. That’s about $185 per month lost and one-half pound of food wasted per day.

So reduce your food garbage and you’ll save money. For those who can’t resist the urge to keep the fridge stocked, he offers these tips:

—Keep everything in sight in the fridge.

—Use clear containers.

—Put older foods in front and newer foods in the back.

—Use shopping lists at the store and stick to them.

—Put notes on food items, noting their costs, as an incentive to use them.