Food Waste and Our Solutions

Besides oxygen, food is the most important resource to human survival. With out all of the energy and nutrients that we gain from eating humans would be able to build buildings, write novels, create art, we wouldn’t even be able to get up and walk to the refrigerator to peak inside and complain that there is nothing to eat in there. So it may come as a surprise that of one of our most valuable resources that in 2015 alone the amount of food that was wasted world wide stands at a staggering  1/3 of all food is wasted. If that doesn’t seem like much that is equal to one trillion US dollars or the equivalent one one out of every four calories going to waste. http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/food_waste_the_facts. Couple this with the fact that one out of every 9 people in the world do not have enough food to lead an active life, that wasted food accounts for 8% of green house gas emissions and that 25% of agricultural water use goes into growing the food that will never be eatenhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-liz-goodwin/the-food-we-dont-eat_b_12137802.html?utm_hp_ref=sustainable-food. When one looks at these statistics it becomes extremely unsettling to see how much food is wasted that could be helping feed people in need and how environmentally impact wasting food is. There is a silver lining however in that people and governments have recognized this harmful habit and are trying to implement new ways to reduce all the waste.

For example San Francisco has cut down its general wastes by 80%. A large part of this is through their reduction of materials going to land fills which include in large part food. By working with local businesses and governments they have been able to create a door to door system where things are recycled instead of thrown away. To reduce the food waste they simply gave people compost bins that they then use to be re purposed as fertilizer. Now it is a law that people must recycle and compost http://www.no-burn.org/downloads/ZW%20San%20Francisco.pdf. Another example comes from Europe and the Zero Waste Municipalities Network. Just like San Francisco municipalities have taken it upon themselves to educate and innovate the ways in which they handle waste. http://zerowasteeurope.eu/zerowastecities.eu/. These are examples of people and cities recognizing a problem and taking action, demonstrating that public participation and planning can produce magnificent results.    Not only are cities leading the way in reducing food waste but so is the food industry itself. The best way to reduce waste is to not produce it at all, what is referred to as “source reduction” and companies who have taken this approach have seen drastic reductions in their waste. ConAgra foods for example just started cutting off a little more crust from their pot pies and ended up saving 300 tons of pie dough (that includes water, grains, ect) in a single year. Another example comes from General Mills who, just by heating up their cheese a bit longer so the toppings would stay on better saved 4000 metric tons of waste http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meghan-stasz/how-the-food-industry-is-_b_12090370.html?utm_hp_ref=sustainable-food. Not only are big businesses getting behind better practices but small businesses are taking unconventional approaches to the food waste problem as well. Too Good to Go, an app available in the UK lets people by left over food from restaurants that would have normally just been thrown away http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/app-lets-you-buy-leftover-food-from-restaurants-and-its-really-cheap_us_57aa4469e4b0ba7ed23dff1a?utm_hp_ref=sustainable-food. It goes to show that little innovations are available, do-able, and actually have a big impact on the amount of food waste.

https://www.facebook.com/toogoodtogoUSA/photos/a.1101795203241069.1073741827.1101791279908128/1101831499904106/?type=3&theater

A picture from the app Too Good to Go

Food waste is a real problem not only for social standards but also in environmental impact but people, businesses and societies are making actua efforts to reduce waste, and they are working. This just goes to show that when people really put their mind to a problem they can fix it and that other people will not be far behind trying to reduce or completely eliminate the worlds problem of wasted food.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Food Waste and Our Solutions

  1. amyquandt

    What are things average people can do to decrease their food waste? Do you think this is more or less important than companies cutting down on food waste?

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    • jackkotarba

      There are multiple things that the average person can do to reduce their food waste and most of them involve easy and practical changes in their everyday habits. People can shop smarter so they are buying food that they will eat and not just throw away, along the same lines cooking with a reasonable amount of food so that it doesn’t get thrown away is another easy way that people help reduce their food waste. Composting is another way that people can turn their waste into a useful substance in food production. Most of food is lost during the production and processing before it gets to the consumers table so their food waste reduction will have the most impact but it is also important for consumers to do their part as well.

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  2. adampeterman

    It sounds like there are many ways in which food production corporations can decrease their waste simply by maximizing their efficiency. It is hard to believe that ConAgra Foods reduced 300 tons of pie crust from their production just by removing a small amount from each pie. I would bet this is just one example out of thousands of ways food corporations could maximize efficiency and decrease ingredients.

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