Can New Technology Dispose of Our Costly Food Waste Habits?

Revolutionary technology may soon be available to help prevent the alarming amount food we waste. Intelleflex, a California technology company, has recently announced the development of a system employing RFID chips and GPS technology that could help gauge temperature, location and time data of food in order to reduce the number of spoils and losses.

Food waste is creating an increasingly costly situation that’s also the source of some serious ethical concerns. More than 100 million tons of edible food ends up in U.S. landfills each year while one in six Americans struggle to find food on a regular basis. Efforts to route near-expired food from supermarkets to food banks have been met with red tape and great difficulty as filmmaker Jeremy Seifert revealed in his documentary, “DIVE! Living Off America’s Waste.”

Much of the nation’s food waste comes via rotting fruits and vegetables—which accounts for 25 percent of the food thrown away every year—costing more than $35 billion. And Intelleflex’s technology could reduce those numbers significantly by monitoring the temperature of cases of fruits and vegetables either on trucks en route to stores, or while in storage facilities. By monitoring temperature, experts would be better capable of determining how soon the food would become inedible, helping to expedite it either to a supermarket floor for sale, or to a food bank or shelter.

And the reusable tags are remarkably inexpensive at $1 per use or less; just one tag could prevent the loss of an entire pallet of food that can equal thousands of dollars. The software is also reportedly inexpensive as well, helping to radically upgrade the nation’s food tracking system and decrease losses while also helping to feed more people and minimize the amount of trash going to landfills.

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Image: Nick Saltmarsh