Close to 40 percent of all the food in the U.S. becomes waste. Garbage. Thrown away. Stunning, isn’t it? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2014 we disposed more than 38 million tons of food waste—the majority of which ended up in landfills, where it breaks down to produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas directly associated with climate change. That’s the bad news, now for the good: consumers and companies are taking note. One organization, New York based Baldor Foods, has even developed easy recipes for using food scraps. Try their tomato sauce made from vegetable peelings and the tops of tomatoes, aka the parts you throw away. Learn more about the local movement to reuse food scraps in your area—the EPA has a list of sources that cover most of the country.
What can you do to help eliminate food waste?
Stop over-purchasing food. Meaning don’t buy ingredients for recipes you “think” you might make in a few days. Wait until you know you’re going to make it and avoid tossing that good food and good intentions into the trash.
Here are some tips from the USDA:
- Reduce food waste by improving product development, storage, shopping/ordering, marketing, labeling and cooking methods.
- Recover food waste by connecting potential food donors to hunger relief organizations like food banks and pantries.
- Recycle food waste to feed animals or to create compost, bioenergy and natural fertilizers.