Imagine carrying four, five-pound bags of sugar around the block.
That’s the weight of the food that the average American wastes every month. It includes the half-eaten sandwich you toss into the garbage; the moldy berries you never got around to eating, the half-eaten entre that the waiter at your favorite restaurant whisks away…
“Would you like a box?”
“No,” we demure – wiving the waiter away, not knowing that 15 % of the waste laying in landfills comes from restaurants.
Ah. This is the land of plenty and unfortunately in the land of plenty there is plenty of waste. About 40 percent of the food our hard-working farmers produce never reaches our stomachs. And what doesn’t rots in landfills, emitting 17 percent of the methane gas so detrimental to the atmosphere.
As we save up for Priuses, we may not thinking of something easier – and more cost effective for the environment: Stop wasting food. A few ways you can do this include:
- Taking your leftovers the next time you don’t finish a meal you eat out.
- Shopping more carefully. Bulk-buy perishables only when you will be having a crowd. (Sometimes grocery stores bundle things to encourage larger sales. Take advantage of that only if you know you will use it.)
- Eat leftovers.
- Freeze those you can’t eat right now
At the Capital Area Food Bank, reducing food waste is part of our operational model and our organizational DNA. When grocery stores misgauge the consumer and buy more than they want, we distribute it to communities in need.
We’ve also expanded a program called Partner Direct, which puts the area food pantries and soup kitchens that we work with in touch with small grocers and other food vendors near them who may be able to donate to them directly.
Even as the food bank contributes to the reduction of food waste through our very existence, though, we want to be sure we are doing all we can to avoid contributing to our country’s food waste problem. We have set an organizational goal to reduce our food waste to near zero by working closely with our food donor and by continuously refining our receiving and distribution processes.
Will you join us as we strive to waste less?
Follow Nancy on Twitter at @nancyroman1.