A recent NRDC report says that up to 40% of food in the United States is wasted; another says 25% of all waste comes from consumers who throw away about 1.5 pounds of food per person, per day.
Organizations like the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are looking at the impacts of food waste to the economy and the environment, according to a story on Climate News Network. They're calling attention to the fact that tons of edible food is being wasted while millions go hungry.
We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 millon people go hungry every day," said the FAO's director-general Jose Graziano da Sliva.
In addition to finding ways to get edible food to those who need it, there are better ways to deal with inedible food and foodscraps besides throwing them in the trash, and eventually in the landfill. According to the FAO, food waste worldwide accounts for the most Greenhouse Gas emissions next to the United States and China.
Anaerobic digestion and composting are great solutions to the problems created when food is sent to the landfill. In the landfill, when food breaks rot, it releases methane, a powerful Greenhouse Gas. However, if diverted to an anaerobic digestor or when used in composting food waste can become a valuable source of renewable energy or fertilizer.
Uneaten food that ends up rotting in landfills is also a large producer of methane, although there is another use to be made of it which can offer worthwhile returns.
Consumers can help reduce food waste by taking a few simple steps: sharing meals, eating smaller portions, donating unspoiled or nonperishable food, composting, saving and eating leftovers. Click here for more ideas.
Click here to see an infographic on food waste from Sustainable America.
Photo credit: The Independent