By Jeff Stark
It now appears that yet another artifact from the recently departed Trump administration is reaching up to bite us in the butt. It seems that as a nation we are wasting more than 30% of the food we buy. This is difficult to digest, particularly since much of this life-giving resource is still safe to eat, This is extremely bad news since we are now waging a desperate battle to feed all of us. It is going badly and we may soon be in a position where we will have nothing left to bite but butt.
Wasting food in the US is as American as apple pie. According to most involved observers over $400 billion worth of good, safe, nutritious food is wasted in the US every year. The largest percentage of the wasted food in the US happens at home, with a large portin of that life-giving >harvest being discarded on looks alone. Partly as a result our nation's at home carbon footprint exceeds that of the airline industry. While there may be some justification for waste in the airline industry (quality of food maybe?) there is no excuse.
Wasting food is a widespread and global phenomenon, not the province of any particular industry. It occurs in homes, schools, grocery stores, restaurants and other players in the food industry. According to the public service organization ReFed, wasting food is a chronic problem which is in the process of growing into a deadly emergency. Currently there are over 26 million Americans who go to bed hungry every night. This figure includes children and seniors, the chronically ill and the underemployed, the undereducated and the Americans who work in the "Gig" economy. Many if not most of these citizens have little if any reason to expect help from our society at large since wasting recyclable food wastes is a nearly universal practice.
For those of us who are interested and involved in stopping global climate change rescuing wasted food and returning it back to the dinner table the environmental the impacts of wasting food are have a double impact. When food is disposed of by dumping or allowing runoff into nearshore or deep sea environments it continues to decay. When food wastes breakdown they produce massive amounts of toxins, including methane. Methane is persistent in the environment and is 28 percent more poisonous than CO2. It contributes way more than its share of greenhouse gases. Methane disrupts the chemistry of our oceans. Environmental advocates are aware how destructive and mindless way we treat our wastes, food wastes and many other materials as well. They also realize when it comes to dealing responsibly with food wastes that are discharged into the ocean we are barely scratching the surface.
WHAT WE CAN DO
The good news is that are many effective tactics which deal effectively with our wasted food habits. Some are industrial scale and are created, operated and defended by municipalities, states and the federal government. Others are home scale and deal with effective remedies for this issue that are available and affordable for us all.
However, no matter how we choose to join this vital and growing movement we will harvest energetic campaigners and the ultimate benefit -- delicious healthy food, more of it, and the satisfaction of learning how to be part of an effective movement.
To get started we can choose a path from our list of links to a small fraction of the positive activities in our "RESOURCES" section below.
To access the US Environmental Protection Agency information and programs click here.
The international Zero Waste Campaign is the big brother to the Food Waste effort. For a supermarket of information and activist opportunities 14 Food waste/Zero waste campaign ideas | food waste, food, waste
Home composting is an effective and efficient way to dramatically reduce your waste stream at home, while doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint. By making compost, you are creating a valuable soil amendment that you can use to bnefit your landscape, boost plant growth and sequester carbon. Click here For the results of a Google search for "home composting information".
Check out this You Tube video for guidance and ideas that will make your home composting effort as productive as possible.
ReFED is a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste by advancing data-driven solutions. An effective cheerleader, ReFED can link all of us together in a massive and effective campaign.
Food waste is accompanied by wasting money as well. Most studies show that the average American family throws "away" $1,600 worth of edible food every year. That works out to be about 40% of the food we buy. Check out the details here.
Dealing with food waste is also part of the greated battle in support of global zero waste campaings. To find out more, and how to participate on an individual and organizational level click here.