On the dandy, daily-updated, Online Nature-News Page at http://www.backyardnature.net/i-rss.htm I was browsing articles submitted by ScienceDaily.com. A new study archived there claimed that the US could save energy equivalent to about 350,000,000 barrels of oil a year simply by stopping wasting food -- and that without spending a penny or diminishing the quality of life. The study said that in 2007 between 8 and 16% of US energy consumption went toward food production, but some 27% of that food was wasted. The story appears at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101003081627.htm. [UPDATE: In 2014 it's estimated that up to 40% of food in the US is wasted. See the page at EndHunger.Org]
In discussions of this issue one important perspective I haven't heard anyone expressing is this: NOT wasting food feels GOOD. I mean, it feels good to live with a self discipline and to have an ethical foundation with which such waste simply doesn't arise in the first place.
The kind of food wasting reported in the article is so unnatural, so damaging to Life on Earth, and so without precedence in the natural world, that it constitutes a perversion. Perverse behaviors arise from sick spirits.
The interesting thing is that when we harmonize our thoughts and behaviors with Nature -- and part of that harmonization must always be to live sustainably -- we experience a kind of gratifying resonance, the intensity of which is all out of proportion to our everyday feelings. It's similar to how a wet finger moved along the rim of a glass suddenly causes a completely unforeseen and inexplicably intense enchantment of resonating sound.
Consciously not wasting food, and not patronizing places that do waste food, can be thought of as one of many daily meditations available to us that can please and nurture our spirits -- or heal them if our spirits have been damaged or failed to develop properly.
Many other such behaviors that magically replenish and make us glad fall under the rubric of "simple living." Wikipedia provides a surprisingly nice page on that theme at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_living.
Sayings worth reflecting on, on the topic of simple living, are at http://www.gardendigest.com/simple.htm.
For example, at the above page there's this by Mohandas Gandhi, especially fitting when we talk about wasted food:
"Live simply, so others may simply live." .