Over 35% of Americans are obese, but somehow nearly half of our food never gets a chance to pass through our flabby maws: according to an NRDC report [pdf], 40% of the food in the United States is wasted. That's the equivalent of 20 pounds per person every month. We waste 10 times more food than someone in Southeast Asia, and 50% more than we did in the 1970s. Basically, the nation's collective Clean Plate Club membership should be indefinitely revoked.
So whose fault is this? Everyone's, because we are all disgusting, horrible people.
It's your fault for not buying "irregular" looking produce ("I only eat bananas that look like boomerangs") and throwing out 25% of the food you buy. It's the food service industry's fault for serving portion sizes that are up to eight times larger than the recommended size and stocking too much food, which they end up throwing 17% of away. It's grocery stores' fault for stocking way too much prepared food that they'll end up throwing out (50% of rotisserie chickens!) and creating "the effect of abundance" in its aisles.
This report should make you weep (1 in 6 Americans lack a steady supply of food! Growing food takes up 50% of our land and 80% of our fresh water!). If hairless monarchs can reduce their waste by 18% in 5 years, so can we. You can start by, you know, not buying so much goddamned food, and remembering that you can safely eat food beyond its "sell by" date.
For tips on how to not be a pestilent vulgarian, check out the NRDC's website. We're going to talk to some scientists about the possibility of re-animating wasted food so that people who buy bag salad every week only to watch it wilt in a vacuum can be haunted by soggy romaine for the rest of their waking hours.