In a world where so many people go hungry every night how is it possible so much food is wasted?
Likely, there are many answers to that question. Perhaps the hungry people aren’t living near the wasteful people. Though, I have a hard time believing that since both seem to exist everywhere.
These are global problems—hunger and waste.
“While the world wastes about 1.4 billion tons of food every year, the United States discards more food than any other country in the world: nearly 40 million tons—80 billion pounds—every year,” according to Recycle Track Systems. “That’s estimated to be 30-40 percent of the entire U.S. food supply, and equates to 219 pounds of waste per person. That’s like every person in America throwing more than 650 average-sized apples right into the garbage — or rather right into landfills, as most discarded food ends up there. In fact, food is the single largest component taking up space inside U.S. landfills, making up 22 percent of municipal solid waste.”
Food waste is so bad that this April is the inaugural Nevada Food Waste Awareness Month.
“Food waste is the largest source of household waste that makes its way into Nevada’s landfills,” Daren Winkelman, chief of Nevada Division of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Sustainable Materials Management, said in a press release. “Food waste impacts more than just your wallet; the methane released by rotting food contributes to harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Taking simple steps to reduce food waste can add up to big improvements for our environment and maintain Nevada’s leadership in creating clean, healthy, and vibrant communities.”
Nevada says the benefits of curtailing food waste include:
- Saving money: By limiting the amount of food that gets thrown away, your family can save thousands of dollars a year.
- Supporting the hungry: If you have extra food at home, consider donating it to a local food bank or shelter to support families and children experiencing food insecurity.
- Conserving resources: Keeping food out of landfills helps lower greenhouse gas pollution, and composting food scraps can help make healthy soil for your garden.
I’m pretty good about not wasting food. I often shop with distinct meals in mind. Veggies that are starting to go bad get cooked and the put in the freezer. Fruit can be frozen to be used for smoothies on another day.
I’d like to think if we curtailed food waste at home, it would mean grocery stores would have more. The good thing about transferring the burden is that many stores already donate to local charities. Perhaps I’m being a bit idealistic, but we need to start someplace, one household at a time can make a difference.