Cooking in quarantine reduces food waste, could help climate change

While large farms and similar food industries have had to trash crops and dairy throughout the pandemic after millions adhered to shelter-in-place orders, many American households have taken an opposite approach to minimize their food waste.

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A month after the novel coronavirus was declared a pandemic, Americans reported they were cooking more often and wasting less food, according to a survey from HUNTER, an integrated marketing and public relations firm.

American households have made it a point to minimize food waste throughout the coronavirus pandemic. (iStock)

American households have made it a point to minimize food waste throughout the coronavirus pandemic. (iStock)

Fifty-four percent engaged in more frequent cooking while 46{c33c21346ff5e26ab8e0ae3d29ae4367143f0d27c235e34c392ea37decdb8bed} engaged in more frequent baking.

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And Americans are still making meals at home four months after the survey’s findings came to light, according to a new report from Reuters.

“We are using virtually all of our leftovers, where we used to waste food because we would forget to pack it and just pick up fast food on a lunch break,” Auburn Hills, Mich. resident Clint Parry told the news outlet.

Clint Parry has been cooking at home more for his family throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. (Amanda Parry/Handout via REUTERS)

Clint Parry has been cooking at home more for his family throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. (Amanda Parry/Handout via REUTERS)

While Parry’s decision to use the food available in his home stemmed largely from wanting to save money, Reuters suggests the move could have a positive impact on climate change if it is adopted by the masses.

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Before the pandemic, American food waste amounted to about 30{c33c21346ff5e26ab8e0ae3d29ae4367143f0d27c235e34c392ea37decdb8bed} to 40{c33c21346ff5e26ab8e0ae3d29ae4367143f0d27c235e34c392ea37decdb8bed}, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“This estimate, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31{c33c21346ff5e26ab8e0ae3d29ae4367143f0d27c235e34c392ea37decdb8bed} food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010,” the government agency said on its website under a Waste FAQs page.

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Those billions of pounds could have helped families in need and consumed energy and resources to be disposed of, which have ultimately contributed to greenhouse gases, according to the USDA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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