Fridge Food Waste

How much does refrigerator size play into food waste? I hadn’t considered that question until reading this interesting discussion of the pros and cons of small refrigerators. In her post, “futurebird” explains how she chose a compact 8.8 cubic foot model.

Part of her rationale is that when we tend to fill our refrigerators, no matter the size. When they’re as big as a Cadillac, chances are plenty of food will go bad in the fridge. She writes:

Ask yourself: are you really going to eat all of that food before it rots? All 28 cubic feet of it?

big-fridges.jpgThe “fill your fridge” factor seems like a creeping source of home food waste. I’d argue that we’re culturally trained to keep our refrigerators stocked. Since refrigerators are growing (well, your kitchen fridge isn’t actually getting bigger each day, but you know what I’m saying), we’re wasting more food. 

Increasing plate size presents a similar obstacle. Larger dinner plates cause problems because we like to fill our plates. As a result, we either eat too much or throw away good food.

When I lived in New Zealand, people often asked me why Americans–as seen in our TV shows–had such massive refrigerators. “Seinfeld” was the most commonly cited example (although apparently it didn’t work too well–see scene two). Yet, Jerry’s fridge never seemed anything but normal to me. Maybe that’s because Americans have some big honking fridges.

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