We’re All Wasted
The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines food waste for the United States as “uneaten food and food preparation wastes from residences and commercial establishments such as grocery stores, restaurants, and produce stands, institutional cafeterias and kitchens, and industrial sources like employee lunchrooms”.
With so many hungry people in this country, the idea that 40% of our food is wasted (at a cost of $100 billion), is ridiculous.
Who among us didn’t hear, as children at the table, that we ‘should finish what was on our plates because there were starving children somewhere in the world’?
That wasn’t much of a solution then and it’s not much of one now. (with apologies to Tip #7 below!)
Jonathan Bloom has been researching the topic of food waste since 2005 and has become a voice of reason on wasting food. He writes about why we waste food, why it matters and what we can do about it on his blog, Wasted Food.
In his new book “American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food” (Da Capo Press), Jonathan Bloom makes the case that curbing food waste isn’t just about cleaning your plate.
“The bad news is that we’re extremely wasteful,” Mr. Bloom said in an interview. “The positive side of it is that we have a real role to play here, and we can effect change. If we all reduce food waste in our homes, we’ll have a significant impact.”
There are so many facets to the incredibly complex problem of wasted food and we are certainly not going to solve it in this post, but we all need to start doing our part to cut down food waste.
The great people over at CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) have eleven tips to get us all into the frame of mind to begin to get serious about reducing food waste.
Go read the details behind these suggestions, because we all have to change our ways.
1. Shop wisely and buy only what you need.
2. Embrace ugly produce.
3. Don’t let good produce go bad.
4. Know your refrigerator’s microclimates.
5. Take “sell by” dates with a grain of salt.
6. Eat your chard stems and beet greens.
7. Clean your plate and your fridge.
8. Make an art of leftovers.
9. You can preserve that.
10. Share the bounty.
11. When all else fails, compost.
Tara Parker-Pope concludes her edifying article with this from Jonathan Bloom:
And if you do decide to throw away food, give it a second look, Mr. Bloom advises. “The common attitude is ‘when in doubt, throw it out,’” he said. “But I try to give the food the benefit of the doubt.”
That’s good advice we shouldn’t throw away.
What do you do to combat food waste?
Photo credit: Craig McCord
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