The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that more than 40% of groceries purchased annually in the United States (or $165 billion dollars worth of food) gets thrown away! That’s a lot of food waste and a lot of money. Just where does this food waste go? Usually, the waste goes directly into our crowded landfills.
What can we do to curb food waste?
Using the food waste recovery pyramid is a guideline that’s extremely helpful. Here’s how it works (see diagram pictured).
To start, begin with waste avoidance — the most preferred method. Check your cupboards, plan what you’ll eat per week, make a list, and just buy only what you will eat!
Second, if you’re not able to consume the food you purchase or grow, try freezing it for later use, or incorporating it into soups, smoothies, or other food items. Also, think about sharing your food with a local food rescue organization such as Food Share or Food Forward. You might even use the food to feed your animals or provide to an animal shelter.
Thirdly, once you’ve shared and distributed all the food, you can so it won’t go to waste, think of composting. Composting leftovers is something everyone can do at home (or at the office). City of Ventura residents are also encouraged to purchase compost bins (the City partners with Green Thumb Nursery to offer discounted compost and worm bins). Here’s a link on how to compost: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
Just remember, the last thing you want to do with food waste is to have it end up in the landfill.
Here are some other facts that support food waste diversion:
- According to the National Resource Defense Council, getting food to our tables eats up 10% of the total U.S. Energy budget!
- Throwing away one pound of bananas (approximately four bananas) is equivalent in water waste to running your shower for 42 minutes!
- Throwing away food is throwing away the hard work and love it took to produce and prepare your food, so don’t waste the love!
- Think again before you send food waste to the landfill. Why? Because when food ends up in the earth, it breaks down into a gas called Methane. Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas that is 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide! Even a small amount of Methane in the atmosphere can have a huge impact. Unfortunately, 30% of our landfills are made up of food waste. One person can make a difference in those numbers!
- The average American throws away 25% of the food they purchase, and that translates to almost $400 per year per person. If you have a family of five, you could save upwards of $2,000 a year. Don’t you think you could find something better to do with your money?
LISTEN TO THE FOOD WASTE PREVENTION PODCAST with Environmental Specialist Arriana Rabago to find out more, CLICK HERE!