Food Waste

Here is a followup to my “reducing waste” article from some time ago!

This past semester, I fully cooked for myself for the first time. I planned my dinners for the week, picked out what I wanted at the grocery store, ate the leftovers when I cooked way too much, and eventually tossed the leftover-leftovers that were beyond their time.

Throughout this adjustment to cooking and eating for one, I have realized how much food I accidentally waste. As just one person, I cannot eat all of the servings included in packages sold, and inevitably end up with some moldy leftovers forgotten in the back of the fridge (great topic for a science project). 

Another source of food waste comes from food that doesn’t even make it to the supermarket. A good portion of food grown is left in the field, deemed unworthy of sale. There are now organizations, such as Imperfect Produce, that advocate for “misshapen” and “ugly” produce, and have made a market out of the unwanted fruits and veggies that are typically left to rot in the field.  

How many of you have a compost bin? How about a recycling bin? How many of you sort your trash? As it turns out, decomposing food is its own source of pollution. As food biodegrades, it releases methane, a major greenhouse gas. 

So, first and foremost, try to reduce your food waste. This saves money, if you’re buying just what you need, and eating what you buy. In addition, decreasing food waste saves the resources that went into food production and transportation. If you do end up with inedible leftovers, try to find a compost service nearby, or start a compost bin of your own. Compost turns into excellent fertilizer! 

Of course, composting is not feasible to everyone, everywhere. But it is important to keep in mind the negatives of food waste, and be conscious of how much you buy, and how much you waste. Happy eating! 


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