Sustainable America Blog

Glad Takes on Food Waste

Leftovers in plastic containers

Photo Credit: armigeress via Compfight cc

The fight against food waste is getting a boost from a major consumer brand. Glad, makers of plastic wraps, containers and food bags, launched a $10 million campaign this month to educate consumers about food waste and how their products can help reduce it.

Informing the campaign is a “Fridge To Fork” survey commissioned by Glad that took stock of Americans’ food waste and food preservation habits. The survey revealed some discouraging details and reinforced some of the findings from last year’s NRDC food waste report. For example, two-thirds of Americans throw away food weekly or more, 49 percent have found something in their fridge in the last month that they didn’t know was there, and younger Americans throw away more food on a daily basis than older folks.

Interestingly, even though more than half of Americans recognize that the majority of food waste ends up in landfills, only 16 percent link food waste with significant environmental impact. However, according to the NRDC, “food now represents the single largest component of municipal solid waste reaching landfills where it gradually converts to methane, a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more powerful in global warming as carbon dioxide.” Food waste absolutely poses an environmental threat, and it seems there’s more work to do to get people to consider reducing food waste as important as recycling or conserving water.

Glad's Save It Sunday promotion

(PRNewsFoto/The GLAD Products Company)

Informed by their research, Glad has formulated Save It Sunday, a campaign to get Americans committed to changing certain habits and protecting the food they buy to help cut down on food waste at home. Launched at the New York Wine and Food Festival with Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli, it all starts with a pledge to properly protect your food the day you buy it to help keep it fresher, longer. Glad chose to focus on Sundays because it’s the day many people shop for and plan their weekly meals.

If you take the Save It Sunday pledge, you’ll get a coupon from Glad and be entered in a chance to win a drawing to win a chef-prepared meal in your home. By participating in monthly food challenges and using the hashtag #saveitsunday on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, participants will have a chance to win prizes and/or be featured on the Save It Sunday website. Glad’s website offers Protection Pointers to help keep food fresh longer—featuring their products, of course. Right now the site has tips for Brussels sprouts, apples, kale, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, and many more. Glad is also promoting the program through events, blogger partnerships, PR outreach, and online, in-store and print advertisements. The company, which is a division of the Clorox Company, plans to expand the campaign to Australia, China, New Zealand and South Africa.

Glad’s survey speaks to a consumer openness to work on the food waste issue. Ninety-three percent of Americans say they are willing to consider storing food properly with wrap, bags or containers to protect the food they buy, and 78 percent are very willing to do so. Sixty-five percent of Americans take an inventory of groceries at home before shopping, and 38 percent look at recipes before shopping – two great ways to minimize food waste. There is still much room for improvement, but with a stated willingness to learn, the American public could be poised to make great strides in reducing food waste at home.

One of Sustainable America’s stated goals is to decrease food waste in the U.S. from 33 percent of total food produced to 17 percent of food produced by the year 2035. It’s encouraging to see a big brand get behind this issue and help raise awareness of a food waste problem that has spiraled out of control. When we decrease food waste, families save money and resources, and the nation as a whole conserves the valuable resources used to produce and transport food, while increasing food availability. Check out some of our posts about curbing food waste at home, at the grocery store, and beyond.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.

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