NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Despite a drought and skyrocketing food prices, a new study shows Americans are throwing large portions of their food in the trash. And that translates to cold, hard cash going down the drain.

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

READ MORE: Woman Collapses, Dies While Climbing Stairs To 19th-Floor Apartment During Power Outage In Co-Op City

“Imagine walking out of a grocery store with three bags of groceries, dropping one and not bothering to pick it up,” Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.

Each year, the average family of four winds up throwing away the equivalent of up to $2,200 in food.

MORE: Read The Full NRDC Report

The National Resources Defense Council analyzed the data and found Americans aren’t eating what’s on their plates and throwing away 40% of their food. That adds up to about $165 billion in wasted food each year, according to the research.

READ MORE: Exclusive: Orange County COVID Vaccine Site Ready To Go, But Organizers Say State Won't Send Them Any Doses

Each year, the average family of four winds up throwing away the equivalent of up to $2,200 in food, according to the data.

“One of the causes of that might be that our portion sizes are increasing tremendously,” Gunders told Miller. “When you think about just more food being served, there’s more being eaten but there’s also more being wasted,” Gunders said.

To cut back on waste, Gunders suggested taking restaurant food home to use as leftovers.

“55% of diners do take leftovers home, but that means about half of the people out are not taking their leftovers home,” she told Miller.

Another tip to save food is to freeze it before its expiration date.

MORE NEWS: New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza Stepping Down

Are you guilty of tossing food in the trash? What are your tips for saving food? Share your comments below…