Americans feel guilty about wasting food. Nearly 40 percent of Americans recently surveyed said wasting food caused them the most "green guilt." The research found that food waste costs the average family around $600 a year.
It was just one of the many things eco-conscious Americans feel guilty about, according to the survey.
"This is an issue that gets right to the core of who we are as Americans. We were all taught to 'waste not, want not' and trained that wasting food equals being a bad person," said Suzanne Shelton, founder and CEO of marketing communications firm Shelton Group, which surveyed 1,013 people for its research. "Yet the average household throws out 470 pounds of food every year, making it the largest component in our nation’s landfills. So I’m afraid we have plenty to feel guilty about. We need to be more careful about buying what we need and using what we buy."
Overall, wasting food caused more green guilt among respondents than other potential causes for regret, most notably leaving the lights on when leaving a room and wasting water. Throwing away extra food also made respondents feel guiltier than not unplugging electronics that are not in use and failing to recycle.
- Other habits that the respondents admitted were causes of guilt included:
- Forgetting to bring reusable bags to the store
- Letting the water run while brushing teeth, washing dishes, etc.
- Not buying CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) or LEDs
- Not sticking to an energy-efficient thermostat setting
- Using chemical lawn or plant fertilizers
- Not being careful about when or how long to water the grass
While Americans generally strive toward a greener lifestyle, the research found that consumers are becoming more influenced by companies that were socially responsible in recent years. Thirty percent of respondents said the social responsibility activities of a company influenced their purchase decisions. Additionally, 71 percent of respondents said they believed companies' claims about making green products.