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Arizona No. 1 in the U.S. for wasting food

Each year, Arizona throws away $9.5 billion worth of food and has become No. 1 in the nation for sending the most food to the landfill, according to a new analysis.

About 1.7 millions tons of food is thrown out every year according to a study of all 50 states done by LawnStarter, an online matchmaking business for landscaping that takes interest in economics. The findings used data from multiple sources, including the U.S. Composting Council and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The city of Phoenix found during a separate study of its residential garbage that almost 15% of its trash was food.

Researchers say consumers are often unaware of just how much food and money they are wasting and aren’t properly utilizing the food they already have. 

“Food is perishable, and it takes a lot of planning and organization to make sure food is not wasted, and it's very difficult for consumers to undertake that type of planning on an everyday basis," said Brian Roe, faculty lead at Ohio State University’s Food Waste Collaborative. 

Roe expects there to be an increase in wasted food this holiday season due to the uncertainty of how many people will be joining for Thanksgiving dinner. He urges people to be mindful of how much food to make and to plan what to do with the leftovers.

Thalia Lopez is an intern at KJZZ and entering her final year at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Lopez is studying broadcast journalism with a minor in theater.Growing up in Arizona, Lopez has become familiar with the different cultures that spread across the state and has developed a love for connecting with the community.When off the clock, Lopez enjoys advancing her acting skills, finding new ways to improve her health and watching movies with her friends and family.