Before coming to intern at EGDM, I never gave much thought to food waste. I’ve always known it has existed, but I never cared about the topic because the food would end up biodegrading anyway, right? Wrong!
To begin, landfills are so tightly packed that they create an oxygen-free environment, making it hard for even an apple core to biodegrade.
It is estimated that 40% of the food produced in the US is wasted; the majority of this waste ends up in landfills. During 2014, the US generated 38 million tons of food waste with only 5% of that diverted from landfills. According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), food is the single largest category of material found in landfills, where it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. In 2017, 14.1% of the methane emissions came from landfills.
Not only will reducing food waste help mitigate climate change, but if we reduce food waste by even 15%, we could feed more than 25 million Americans every year. According to the NRDC, 1 in 8 Americans suffer from food insecurity. If reducing food waste by 15% can help feed 25 million Americans, imagine how many families we can help if we reduced food waste by 30%.
Other benefits of reducing food waste
- • Save over $370 annually per person
- • Reduce our carbon footprint
- • Preserve energy and resources
- • Drive down the price of food
- • Support your local community by donating extra food!
Here is what YOU can do to help reduce your food waste:
- • Meal prep.
- • Keep your veggies and fruits out where you can see them. This will make you want to eat them before they go bad.
- • Freeze meats and other foods so they last longer.
- • Reuse table scraps. Transform veggie scraps into a veggie broth.
- • Donate untouched/ unopened food to your local food co-op or food pantry!
- • Compost… for an added benefit, you’ll get some new worm pets!
- • Eat your leftovers!
Food waste presents significant challenges for our world but addressing this problem provides many opportunities—for the planet, for saving money, for feeding more people.
Consumers are the most significant cause of food waste—more than grocery stores and restaurants. This means we are all part of the problem, but it also means we can all be part of the solution.
As citizens of Earth, we have the duty to do our part so this world doesn’t fall apart. Food waste may seem like a small issue, but in the long run reducing food waste will have a huge positive impact on the world.