Too many people in the U.S. are wasting food due to the misunderstanding of “sell by” and “use by” labels on food products. Food waste is one of the world’s most common forms of waste, creating problems for landfills and waste management. Proper waste disposal methods as well as the correct way to read labels could help prevent a lot of food from going to landfills.

Over 40% of the food in the U.S. is thrown away, from food purchased at a grocery store to fresh produce purchased at local farmer’s markets. People are too quick to throw away food that is still good for consumption.

Roughly 90% of people who purchase food will throw away food due to the misinterpretation of its label. Sell by dates are made by manufacturers so that retailers can better manage their inventory, not for the use of the consumer. Other labels such as “use by” and “best if used by” are also for retailer purposes. Expiration dates are also misleading and need updating under many circumstances. Many food products can be saved and eaten for some time after any of these label dates. Unfortunately, many people don’t know this and are quick to throw the food away after the date shown on the label.

Seeing as food waste is the most tossed away waste, the food is taking up landfills. Not only is most of the food being thrown away still good at the time it is being tossed, but there are more efficient ways of getting rid of food such as composting. People need to become more educated of proper ways to dispose of food as well as how to read the products’ labels. This could help prevent a lot of the food from being tossed out prematurely and being wasted appropriately. Some states, such as New York are working towards composting programs and other such services to help prevent food waste from ending up in landfills.

Via: Los Angeles Times