Don't Throw it Away Part 1: Why and how people waste food - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Don't Throw it Away Part 1: Why and how people waste food

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If you've ever gone to the grocery store and bought a cart full of food, but ended up having to throw some of it away before you could cook it all, you're not alone.

A 2012 study found Americans waste $165 billion worth of food each year. The National Resources Defense Council said that translates to essentially tossing away "every other piece of food that crosses our path."

Tiffany Alls, a single mother with a 5-year-old son, told WTOC she is guilty of wasting food.

"Especially like fresh foods, because you try to cook healthy and they go bad very easily. Very fast."

The NRDC report claims the average American family of four throws away more than $2,000 annually in food, and Alls said she wastes about $50 a week.

Linda Smith agreed.

"Probably $100-150."

The biggest reason for this? Most shoppers said time is to blame.

"I work long hours and I just don't have the energy to cook when I get home. So, it's always easier to grab something quick than to cook the things I know that are in there that are going to go bad," Samantha Bartlett said.

Jackie Ogden, a Consumer and Family Science Specialist with the University of Georgia, said most people don't know when to keep food, and when to toss it.

There's plenty of misconceptions out there about certain foods and how long they stay fresh. For example, Ogden said eggs can stay good in your refrigerator for a whole month. Ground beef, when frozen, can be kept for up to four months.

Ogden said the key to not wasting food is to shop smart and plan.

"It's important for us to remember that when we are purchasing foods, to read labels and to look at the use-by date and sell-by date."

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