Food waste and the environment? It's a bigger deal than you think.
Here’s some sobering news: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that every year in the United States, approximately 31 percent (133 billion pounds!) of our food supply is wasted. And you know where it goes? Landfills. This contributes to almost 20 percent of methane emissions.
The EPA and other national organizations are intent on slashing the amount of food waste sent to landfills. They are motivated by a desire to reduce greenhouse gases and feed the one in seven American families who struggle with hunger.
To stem the tide of food heading to landfills, food manufacturers, retailers and restaurants are starting to take some responsibility. But the rest of us need to join their ranks, too, explains EPA’s Ashley Zanolli in an NPR interview.
“Forty to 50 percent of food waste comes from consumers, and 50 to 60 percent from businesses,” she says.
Why Food Spoils
One of the top reasons that food is thrown out is food spoilage. Remember opening that container of leftovers hidden in the dark hole of your fridge? It likely exhibited some pretty disagreeable changes, which can be attributed to air, light exposure, microbial growth, temperature, and other factors.
According to foodsafetysite.com, one of the main reasons that food spoils is water or moisture. Microorganisms need H20 to dissolve the food they use. In turn, this leads to bacteria, yeast and mold. Plus, the moisture in food opens the door to chemical reactions leading to spoilage.
Curbing Home Food Waste
- Changing Behaviors: Before you toss out food, give it a long hard look. Cosmetically challenged fruits and vegetables are still delicious and nutritious. Also, this may sound like a no-brainer, but you can reduce food waste by planning meals before shopping. You’ll save money and excess food won’t go to waste.
Improve Your Storage Game: Those rotting leftovers may have been saved by better storage techniques, such as freezing in a secure container. And if you find yourself with too many veggies and not enough eaters, consider blanching them briefly and then freezing them. Or try dedicating a shelf in the fridge for food that needs to be eaten ASAP.
Responsible Food Choices: Support grocery stores and food manufacturers that practice responsible food waste management. Many grocery stores donate extra food to food banks. Nutrient offers dozens of responsible food choices for conscientious consumers. Water is taken out of Nutrient's products, so water spoilage is not an issue. Additionally, the protective packaging saves the food from air and light exposure and protects the integrity of the vitamins and minerals. Nutrient products have a "best by" date, not an expiration date, so you won't be throwing out unused food. Try subbing one meal a day with Nutrient to feed your body's greatness AND reduce your food waste footprint.