“Ask a Priest: Is Wasting Food a Sin?”

Want to rate this?

Q: My husband and I were out for lunch, and when we were packing our leftovers away I noticed that he left a cup of rice in the bowl instead of packing it. I was raised my whole life believing that being wasteful with food is a sin. We got into a heated debate about whether it was or not a sin. He was so upset with me and didn’t speak to me the rest of the day. He claims that it directly is not a sin, and that he wouldn’t have to mention it in confession. Is that accurate? I would really appreciate the help. – K.C.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s admirable that you were raised and trained not to waste food.

In a world where many people suffer from hunger, it can be scandalous to see how much food is wasted, especially in the U.S.

That said, it is also important to maintain a bit of balance.

Sometimes it takes more energy (and aggravation) to save a bit of food than the food is worth. Certainly, a cup of rice isn’t worth causing tensions within a marriage.

It’s OK to mention things to children to teach them. When it comes to adults, the better way to teach is by example, not by confrontation.

None of this is meant to stifle your conscience. If you feel as though wasting food in a particular case is sinful, you could mention it in confession. But it’s better not to attribute sin to others.

If you see a pattern of waste within the family, you might suggest a strategy in a calm moment. One thing you don’t want to risk wasting is family unity.


Keep learning more with Ask a Priest

Got a question? Need an answer?

Today’s secular world throws curve balls at us all the time. AskACatholicPriest is a Q&A feature that anyone can use. Just type your question HERE and you will get a personal response back from one of our priests at RCSpirituality. You can ask about anything – liturgy, prayer, moral questions, current events… Our goal is simply to provide a trustworthy forum for dependable Catholic guidance and information. So go ahead and ask your question…

Average Rating

What did you think?

Share your review! Just log in or create your free account.

Leave a Reply

Get the Answers!

Get notified of future Ask a Priest answers via email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content