“There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world, but the approximately 40 million tones of food wasted by US households, retailers and food services each year would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of them.” Bet you didn't know that!
That is a staggering amount of food being wasted yearly. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of all the perfectly good food sitting in a landfill or that has already been incinerated. I personally hate to waste food, but do you know what I hate to waste even more? Water: 884 million people lack access to safe water supplies; approximately one in eight people. Let’s save that topic for another day.
Think about it? We throw good food in the garbage or let it go down the drain literally. It makes me sad and angry. Who do we think we are? We take it for granted all the food we have access to while others go without.
Food waste is more than 14 percent of the total municipal solid waste stream. Less than three percent of the 34 million tons of food waste generated in 2009 was recovered and recycled. The rest —33 million tons— was thrown away. Food waste now represents the single largest component of municipal solid waste reaching landfills and incinerators.
This is not only a hunger problem, but an environmental problem. Food waste contributes to excess consumption of freshwater, and fossil fuels. It generates methane gas and CO2 emissions from sitting in a landfill decomposing, impacting global warming immensely.
Grocery stores and restaurants are big food waste culprits. They throw away perfectly edible food in the trash because one banana is bruised in the bunch, or there is one cracked egg in the carton.
With that said, have you ever thought of getting your food from the trash? Don’t laugh. Many, many people who call themselves Freegans (Free + vegan) forage in dumpsters, also known as dumpster diving, to same money on groceries, clothing, kitchenware etc. or to just live more simply. Just a thought. If you were hungry enough-would you dumpster dive?
If dumpster diving is not for you and are looking to reduce your food waste (which you should be), here are a some ways:
- Plan your meal in advance and use what you have before buying more food.
- Purchase what you need for the week, not more. Just because it is on sale doesn't mean you need to buy it if it is going to go to waste.
- If veggies or fruit look like they are on their last legs- juice them, make a smoothie or soup or freeze them.
- With the left over juice pulp from juicing, make a vegetable broth or soup or add to raw or baked breads.
- If you make your own nut milk, create tasty treats or nut flour with the nut pulp.
- Make broth with left over carcasses from poultry.
- Use left over bread to make croutons.
- Be creative with your leftovers – a little bit of food can go a long way.
- Feed your food scraps to your pets or give them to a local farm where they will be fed to their chickens or pigs (not recommended to feed livestock meat)
- Compost, compost, compost!
I think we need to start being accountable for the food we so recklessly dispose of without a second though. Next time your carrots are getting a little soft-make a soup, juice them and think of all the people in the world that would do anything to eat that flimsy carrot!