Shame, Arizona, shame! A new report has revealed that the Grand Canyon State is America's No. 1 offender when it comes to wasting food. And with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner it looks like Arizonans will be throwing out more food than ever before.

Thanksgiving might be the tastiest holiday, but it's also the waste-iest, according to this study. About 30–40% of the national food supply goes to waste each year, and 200 million pounds of that waste comes from Thanksgiving turkeys alone.

Some states contribute more to that total than others.

LawnStarter collected data on the 50 states to find 2022’s States That Waste the Most Food, factoring in how much food each state wastes, how much it repurposes, and what measures it has in place to reduce food loss.

Wasting Arizona:

Arizona is our No. 1 state that wastes the most food for a cornucopia of reasons. Among the 50 states, the Grand Canyon State registered the highest share of food wasted and the lowest share recycled. It also ranked No. 3 for the lowest share of food donated to people in need.

Some Arizonans are doing their best to minimize food loss, though. The state has more organizations providing food waste solutions than over half the country.

Imperial Western Products (IWP) diverts the most food waste from landfills in Arizona. The company saves about 1.23 million tons of food waste annually by recycling and reusing materials from agricultural sites, restaurants, and bakeries.

Local tip: This year after Thanksgiving dinner, follow IWP’s lead and find a way to recycle your green bean casserole (Arizona’s favorite side dish) into leftover meals, or donate it instead of adding on to Arizona’s already grand food waste problem.

Other Desert Offender:

Las Vegas is famous for its buffets, but where does all that leftover food go? Most of it ends up in the nearby Apex Regional Landfill, one of the largest landfills in the world. No wonder Nevada ranked No. 4 overall among States That Waste the Most Food.

However, many resorts on the Strip are working toward a less wasteful future. They're using leftover food to make compost, donating it to food banks, and even sending it off to feed pigs.

Why and How to Reduce Food Waste

Why do some states make such an effort to reduce their food waste? Here’s one reason: Food waste in landfills produces about 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.

If saving the planet isn’t enough of a reason to reduce your food waste, how about saving money? The average American spends around $3.62 per day on food that never gets eaten. That adds up to more than $100 per month and more than $1,300 per year.

With just one year of food waste savings, you could fill your car with gas 20 or 30 times (depending on where you live) — or spend 1.5 weeks at Disney World.

Whether you’re an eco-warrior or a thrifty spender, here are a few tips to help you reduce your personal food waste:

  1. Plan ahead. Before hitting the grocery store, think about how many meals you’ll need to make at home for the week. Plan different dishes that use some of the same ingredients to minimize waste.
  2. Buy frozen or canned. Fruits and vegetables make up about 30% of food waste in the U.S. because they spoil so quickly. Frozen or canned fruits and veggies are just as nutritious as fresh produce, and they last much longer!
  3. Freeze perishable items. Bread, meat, fruits, vegetables, and other perishables often go bad before you have a chance to eat them. If you know you won’t finish them in the next few days, store perishable items in the freezer for a longer shelf life. Wash, dry, and slice or chop fruits and veggies before freezing them.
  4. Eat leftovers. Whether you’re at home or at a restaurant, save any food you don’t eat for later. If you don’t want to eat the same thing again, look up recipes online for ways to transform your leftovers into something new.
  5. Compost food waste. Even when you give it your best effort, you’ll end up with some food scraps. Instead of sending them off to a landfill, start a compost pile in your backyard. Composting is a 2-for-1 deal: You recycle your food waste, and you can use the compost for your garden or potted plants. (Make sure to check composting rules beforehand.)

Check out LawnStarter's full ranking and analysis here.

Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein

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I think it’s fair to say we all want that #fitlife, especially with Spring around the corner — as well as Gaypril on the way. Whether it’s pool season yet or not, everyone would choose to look fit over not looking fit, if they could have it with a snap of their fingers. OK, the vast majority of us would.

If you’ve met me, or have been reading my articles, you know that I live, sleep, eat and breathe fitness; it’s my heart and soul. That being said, I’m here to tell you that the concept of “fitness” is oftentimes tragically misunderstood.

Before you get too aggressive with your goal for pool season, let’s dive a bit deeper into what fitness means on the inside versus what it looks like on the outside, and common misconceptions around this concept.

1. Beware of the cultural pitfalls and misleading information around fitness.

Most of the bodies you see in the media are probably not real, they just look very convincing. As a trainer who also moonlights as a photographer and Photoshop wizard, I’m telling you that it is incredibly easy to alter pictures in materially misleading ways. Once you know the tricks of the trade, the imposters are easily spotted. But that’s not what this is about.

The point is: to the untrained eye, it can be devastatingly defeating to see such impossible standards. It seems as though the cultural pressure to look a certain way, to look perfect, has spread all the way from runway models to fitness novices with the help of smartphone apps.

The truth is that we fitness models look that cut, and that lean for only a couple days at a time. That’s it! In many cases, months or even close to a year of training, dieting and programming all go into looking like that for ONE day. Let that sink in for a second. Day to day, I am less cut, less tan and much flatter muscularly than what you see in some of my pictures. That’s just the nature of the beast. So, when you have a bad day on the scale, in the mirror or in any other scenario, remember that we’re all human and that the most legitimate photos you’re comparing yourself against were from someone’s very best day. That should help to keep things in perspective.

2. Most people want the results, without actually doing the work.

Fitness is not six pack abs, it’s not superficial, it is not temporary and it’s not an isolated phase in your life. Further, fitness is not something you do for someone else, do to spite someone else or even to impress someone else.

Fitness is confidence, toughness, dedication, coordination, power, balance, speed, strength (both literally and figuratively) and persistence in the face of all obstacles. This includes control over your attitude, your mood, your sleep, your schedule, your diet and other aspects of your life. This means getting that workout in when you least feel like it.

It’s not easy, and it’s definitely a grind that has good and bad days. You must show up and keep working on the days you’re tired, stressed, rushed, defeated, doubtful, afraid and so on. The days you actually have to overcome something instead of just checking your workout off your to-do list are the days you have the greatest opportunity to really make progress, push your body and see the most improvement.

3. Fitness is really an internal mindset. The external physique is the fringe benefit.

I’ve said this time and time again, and it might sound strange coming from such an aesthetic-focused trainer, but you are not your body. Your body is a tool, it’s a means to an end, to express your internal mindset, belief system, discipline and dedication to your workout program. Your physique will come and go. Your strength will come and go. Your abilities will wax and wane depending on what you’re training for at the time.

The outside will, and should, be always changing, but the inside is what we’re really after here. Good trainers want to train you to believe in yourself when sh*t gets hard. We want to train you to be resilient in the face of injury, obstacles and other setbacks. We want you to set ambitious goals and shoot for the moon because you can get there with smart programming and relentless will (do yourself a favor and ditch the crash diets and the photo editing software).

So, as you make your spring preparations for swimsuit season, try focusing on developing a sterling, unshakeable internal character and the muscles will come along the way, this I promise you.

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