The FDA estimates that 30-40% of our food supply is wasted and the EPA estimates that in 2018 about 68% of this wasted food (that’s about 42.8 million tons) ended up either in a landfill or combustion facility. When we compare that to the number of people who are hungry and go without food, this is a depressing number and one that needs to be addressed.
Wasted food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills and represents nourishment that could have helped feed families in need. Additionally, water, energy, and labor used to produce wasted food could have been employed for other purposes. Effectively reducing food waste will require cooperation among federal, state, tribal and local governments, faith-based institutions, environmental organizations, communities, and the entire supply chain.FDA
This week we are going to discuss ways we can sustainably manage food and Reduce Food Waste as individuals and as a community.
What are the Benefits of Reducing Our Food Waste?
Food is often thrown out while it is still edible. Reducing this food waste has many economic, environmental, and social benefits.
It saves us money because we are buying less food. “It is estimated that at the retail and consumer levels in the United States, food loss and waste totals $161 billion dollars.” (EPA)
It lowers our carbon footprint by reducing the methane emissions from landfills.
It prevents pollution that comes from growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling food, conserving energy and resources.
It supports our community by diverting edible food from the landfill and putting it into the hands of those who need it.
How Can We Get Started?
We can start on the path to reducing our food waste through mindfulness and simply planning, prepping, and storing food.
Be mindful of what’s in our fridge and “shop our refrigerator first”. Remember to eat leftovers before they go bad. If we have an excess of vegetables, use them in a soup.
Planning meals ahead of time and buying only what we expect to need for these meals reduces the chance that food will spoil before it gets used.
When we get home from the grocery store, we can go ahead and wash and chop our fresh veggies. When we are in a hurry, they are now ready to cook or snack on, reducing the chance they will rot before making it to our plate.
Learn how to store fruits and vegetables for maximum freshness and keep them where you can see them. It’s so easy to forget the bell pepper that gets pushed to the back of the fridge!
And don’t forget, we can always compost the bits of produce that don’t get eaten!
This week we will talk about different ways we can reduce food waste. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to keep up with the discussion!