Friday, January 29, 2016

Food Waste and You

The abundance of wasted food (here, I’m thinking specifically within America) is produced by both super-retail shopping culture and the food service industry as well as individual (micro-level) waste produced by households. Food waste is estimated to be the 2nd largest contribution to landfills, and food decomposition is the largest producer of methane gases (more facts here!). While the numbers can be overwhelming (30-40% of America’s food supply is wasted), there are basic strategies individuals can take to reduce food waste at home. So what can we as individuals do?

-Proper meal planning and storage is crucial. My experience in the food service industry has created a kind of OCD about food storage and prep. I find it helpful to prep my vegetables ahead of time, about 2-3 days’ worth (chop, slice, dice). And while I generally try and stay away from freezing, it is a helpful tool for extending food’s shelf life.

-Use leftovers, and if you aren’t a leftover person, find someone/something who is (don’t forget about any hungry pets).  Find a local food bank near you here.
-Compost- if you don’t have a city that composts, here’s a good introduction to back yard composting: http://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/foodscraps.html


The hope is to divert food scraps from landfills. These individual actions are necessary not only to do they potentially reduce waste, but also because these individual actions accumulate into the overall cultural whole that produces the social relations that contribute to waste. And when in doubt, you can always consult the food recovery hierarchy:


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