Food waste is a big problem in the U.S., but it doesn’t have to be this way

Apps like Too Good to Go can help reduce food waste and food insecurity


Gabrielle Phat / Daily Collegian.

By Antinoe Kotsopoulos, Collegian Correspondent

Nearly 40 percent of all food in America is wasted. According to Feeding America, an organization dedicated to redistributing groceries to feed those in need, this amounts to 199 million pounds of food yearly. Considering that 34 million people face hunger in the United States, the endemic wastefulness of American society is increasingly harmful.

Too Good to Go is an app on which local restaurants can sell their leftover food at discounted prices to avoid throwing it away. Their mission statement states that they strive “to inspire and empower everyone to take action against food waste.”

The app’s interface is uniform and user-friendly, making the experience simple and easy. It lists local restaurants in your area that have registered with the app and have leftovers to sell at a reduced cost. Apps like Too Good to Go, including OLIO and Karma, have been increasingly popping up on the App Store and in the news.

In addition to downloading one of these apps, individuals can help reduce food waste by researching which chain restaurants donate their excess food and which throw it out. Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, has been known to throw away a large amount of food at the end of the day. Employees have filmed instances of food being put in the trash, and their footage has gone viral on TikTok, sparking an online conversation about the volume of food thrown away.

Chains like Panera Bread, Pizza Hut and Pret a Manger donate their leftover food to feed those who are experiencing food insecurity. Making meaningful decisions regarding where we spend our money has the potential to make all the difference.

At the household level, individuals can minimize their food waste by taking inventory of the supplies that you have in your fridge or pantry to avoid overspending on things you already have, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Creating meal plans for the week helps inform how much food you need to buy at the grocery store. Saving and eating leftovers ensures that you don’t end up throwing away viable food. If you’re not sure what to do with your leftovers, there are plenty of recipes online that can help you find new ways to incorporate them into a meal.

Having an organized freezer can help you keep track of leftovers, so you know they’re still safe to eat. Composting ensures that the things that you can’t eat, such as vegetable peels and eggshells, don’t end up in a landfill. As compost, they can help gardens grow healthy plants.

Food waste is a big problem in the U.S., but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are several practices which can reduce your contribution to the systemic waste of resources. Whether it be through an app like Too Good to Go, or through researching which chain restaurants ethically dispose of their leftover food, every effort counts.

Antinoe Kotsopoulos can be reached at [email protected].