Food Waste and Water Footprints Because it takes so much water (and other resources like fossil fuels, land and
labor) to produce food, food waste has some pretty big implications. According to the NRDC, “forty percent of
the food in the United States is never eaten. But at the same time, one in eight Americans struggles to put
enough food on the table.” Wasted food means wasted resources, including water. This is why work is being
done at every level – from local to federal – to reduce food waste. Activities like taking a refrigerator inventory
before you shop, meal planning, using leftovers and composting can make a huge dent in the amount of food
(and water) that is wasted on a daily basis.
What You Can Do :Here are some guidelines that can help reduce the water footprint of a person’s diet:
Don’t waste food: Wasting food means wasting all the resources it took to produce that food, including
water. By planning out meals, using leftovers and only buying what is needed, big reductions can be made in
how much water gets wasted.
Eat less meat: A big step toward lowering dietary water use is eating less meat – not just skipping it but
eating smaller portions too. Observe Meatless Monday (skip meat one day each week) and you’ll
automatically cut 15 percent of meat consumption.
Eat lower on the food chain: While it’s debatable how much protein Americans need to eat, many people
are reducing their intake, especially of meat. While beef and lamb require the most amount of water, ounce
for ounce, pork, chicken and other animal products as well as eggs and dairy also require a lot of water to
Eat protein from a variety of sources: There is a lot of protein in vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.