Food Waste Is Not Cool, But It Can Be

Reported by, the online wholesale food marketplace-

As we’ve mentioned before, corporate responsibility is key in improving our lives. Reducing our carbon footprint, acknowledging local farmers and supporting “buy local” efforts, and cultivating community are critical in sustaining a health, better world. But wait; there is one more task we must add to this list – reduce the amount of food waste.

Defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste is any food substance, raw or cooked, which is discarded, or intended or required to be discarded. Food wastes are the organic residues generated by the handling, storage, sale, preparation, cooking, and serving of foods. Food manufacturing and processing facilities, supermarkets, institutions such as schools, prisons, and hospitals, restaurants and food courts and households are all responsible for producing food waste.

Every year 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted or lost, according to 2012 statistics published by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This accounts for nearly one-third of the annual human food production in the entire world. It’s no secret, rich countries are the worst perpetrators when it comes to waste. Per capita waste by consumers in North America and Europe is between 209-254lbs per year. In comparison, a mere 13-24lbs of food per capita is wasted in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia.

Moreover, in 2010 an astonishing 34 million tons of food waste was generated in the U.S. alone, which is more than any other material category aside from paper. When looking at the big picture, food waste accounts for 14% of the total municipal solid waste stream (see charts below, click to enlarge), which makes up the largest component of solid waste reaching landfills and incinerators. You know it doesn’t end there. As a result of this waste, environmental issues occur such as increased methane emissions occur.

Wow! That’s a tough pill to swallow while in the incipient stages of the sustainability push. This brings upon a new view of sustainability and what needs to be done. Everyone from food buyers and food sellers to corporations and households have to step up to the plate and combat this issue. One person or entity cannot do it alone; this is a task for a village. Below are a few tips to help you along the way to reduce food waste and help to protect our supply chain:

  1. Plan your meals, buy only what you need and consume leftovers.
  2. Compost and turn your food scraps into nourishment for your plants and garden.
  3. Donate food to local shelters or food organizations.
  4. Stores, restaurants and institutional kitchens should be mindful when disposing of food waste; use tight-lid, leak-proof, durable containers.
  5. Collectively seek, demand and participate in the innovation of agriculture technology, relevant infrastructure, laws and regulations, and demand forecasts.

What are you doing to reduce food waste in your home or place of business? Let us know down below.

(Photo Sources 1, 2)

(Additional Sources 1, 2)

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