Here’s the BOGO on Food Waste

By: Judith Mender

Don’t you just love twofers? Who doesn’t love to “buy one get one free”? Well, food rescue is one of the best twofers around!

Perhaps you already know the shocking fact that 40% of food produced in this country is wasted. Even though no individual would consciously buy $100 worth of groceries, only to toss $40 of it in the trash on the way out of the store, this is the reality of our food system in the U.S. This, while 1 in 8 Americans struggle to put food on the table.

Or maybe you even know that this waste leads to well over 100 billion pounds of additional landfill each year. Take a moment to visualize those piles and piles of waste. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even do it. Add to that the fact that every bit of food waste is also a waste of water, fertilizer, labor and money. Ugh!

Okay – so landfills are a big, ugly mess and no one likes that. But there is yet another problem. Something insidious is happening in those landfills: that mess of rotting food is producing methane. Methane is estimated to be 28-32 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). Amazingly, food waste produces 16% of methane in the atmosphere. Methane doesn’t last as long as CO2, but it packs a much larger punch in the short term.

Here’s where the twofer comes in…. when we reduce food waste and hunger, we reduce methane pollution and its effects on the environment.

We look forward to other participants in the food system to take action to reduce waste on their ends. But we can’t afford to wait. Food rescue –where perfectly good food mislabeled as “waste” is redirected from landfill to consumption — is a no-brainer; it immediately allows us both to feed the hungry among us, and care for our precious planet.

What could be more worthy of our attention?


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