Denmark is Beating Food Waste – Why Isn’t America?

Food waste is a staggering problem many households and countries face. With America being ranked the top country that has the most food waste per year it’s embarrassing, yet inspiring, to hear the story of Selina Juul making a huge difference in her country with a global problem, yet we can’t get our country to step up.

America wastes $161 billion dollars a year on food waste. The largest food waste amount in the entire world. When you hear that number and then you hear that 1 in 9 households can’t afford to put food on their tables, doesn’t it make you want to do something besides roll your eyes?

That’s how Selina Juul felt regarding food waste management in Denmark. It’s astonishing that her efforts as a one-women team have decreased food waste 25% in 5 years for Denmark.

Read More: Do You Know How Much Waste Your Family Creates?

So, what can America do to follow in Denmark’s steps to help decrease the amount of food waste per year?

These simple tactics are what Selina Juul has implemented, without having any political power or funding, around Denmark that we could learn and implement to minimize that $161 billion dollars a year that’s wasted.

  1. Restaurants automatically package your leftovers for you and give you “goody bags” instead of doggy bags to take home. This is food you’ve paid for and something we highlighted in our Prolong Your Budget, Prolong Your Life Make sure you keep as much food as you pay for and if not, then package it up and give it to people in need before it expires and molds.
  2. Sunday Leftover Tapas – Which means that if you’re going to go away for the week for work or not return for a few days, you give all your leftovers in your fridge or anything that might spoil to your neighbor and they do the same. This creates community and helps families that might need groceries for the week.
  3. ‘Take me, I’m single’ baskets at grocery stores. This one is a great and simple solution that many grocery stores and local markets could benefit from. Essentially, when you go to the grocery store you may find individual bananas or grapes that have been separated from packs and/or are prepacked. The single boxes are a box that combines all of these ‘single’ items and allows them to be sold individually at a cheap per item price. This helps them from going bad and being thrown away. One grocery store in Denmark stated this simple implementation reduced banana waste by 90% in a week.
  4. Create a food waste supermarket. Pretty much, the supermarket gets donated items from other stores in the area who have items that they’d throw away due to expiration dates, broken packaging, etc. Instead of throwing it away, they donate it and when shoppers come to the store, they are given a “Pay as you can” treatment. That means, they checkout and pay as much as they can towards the items. Nothing has price tags. If shoppers are not able to pay for the items acquired, they are asked to sign up for a volunteer spot to work in the store and help.
  5. There are currently food waste supermarkets in the UK, Denmark, Israel, and Australia.

If you’re ready to take a stand on food waste and help the economy and landfills, bring these ideas plus others to local business owners in your area. It only takes one person to make a difference and one company to implement a global trend.


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