“Oh! I wonder if that flatbread pizza I cooked last week is still good?” I can answer that question without even peering under the foil – it’s not. We all are guilty of wasting food. Even the most scrupulous buyers overestimate how many apples they can eat before the bunch goes bad. Unfortunately, though, food waste is a nation-wide problem that’s gotten a tad out of control.
According to the NPR.com article, “Food Waste Is Overwhelming. Here Are Five Things People Are Doing About It,” by April Fulton, almost 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten. The startling percentage was reported in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s “ Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent Of Its Food from Farm to Fork.”
Where does most food waste take place? Well, uh, everywhere, apparently:
- At farms: imperfect produce gets tossed.
- At processing plants: trimmings and peels get trashed.
- At supermarkets: food near its expiration isn’t sold at a lower price.
- At homes: proper storage is often a problem.
- And restaurants: portioning is often too big and people sometimes don’t ask to take it home.
Luckily, Fulton’s article also references some pretty innovative organizations working to combat insane amount of waste. Some of the more notable organizations are:
The Climate Group
This independent, not-for-profit works towards creating leadership for a “Clean Revolution: a low carbon future that is smarter, better and more prosperous” – The Climate Group
According to the NPR article, The Climate Group is teaming with Starbucks Hong Kong to turn used coffee grounds and un-used bakery items into biofuels, fertilizer and plastics.
Boulder Food Rescue
This non-profit is located in Boulder, Colorado. The organization rescues and redistributes “perishable food ‘waste’ to charities that serve homeless and at-risk individuals.”
The goal?: “to help solve the problems of hunger, malnutrition, and food waste in our community” – Boulder Food Rescue
Love Food Hate Waste
“Love Food Hate Waste is a free app for iPhone and Android that offers hints, tips and recipe ideas to keep home cooks from trashing those squishy tomatoes too soon,” – NPR
So, how can you stop food waste at home?
- Don’t buy in bulk unless you’re absolutely certain you’ll use produce before it goes bad, or know how to properly store the excess food.
- Freeze and save excess vegetables and fruit.
- Use old food (such as stale bread) in recipes.
Image: Ecstatic Mark