In the US roughly 40% of the food we produce never gets eaten, says the US Natural Resources Defense Council. But while that happens, about 1 in 8 Americans still don’t have a steady supply of food to their tables. So how is this problem happening, and what can we do to fix it?
Food is everywhere we go. It’s the McDonald’s across the street or the wild berries hanging in the forest. It’s the bread you buy from the supermarket or it’s the hand-grown mint leaves for your backyard. You can find food anywhere. But maybe that’s the reason we have a problem with food waste in our society today. When you have too much food, you forget about some of the products you buy or find them weeks later, when the food is already expired. But in some situations, that’s not even the case.
Komal Ahmad is the founder of Copia, a startup that’s trying to reduce the amount of wasted food. “If you imagine the world’s largest football stadium filled to its absolute brim,” she says. “That’s how much food gets wasted every single day in America. I’m not talking about last night’s pad thai or this morning’s half-eaten pastries, but untouched, uneaten, perfectly edible food.” So much edible food gets wasted because people throw it out the window when they don’t want it or need it. But then, at the same time, there are problems like food insecurity and how so many Americans go to bed hungry every night. So what we can we do to address these dilemmas?
Well of all the problems out there, reducing the amount of food we waste is the easiest. The first thing you have to do is plan your meals ahead of time. This way, you know what ingredients you need and can buy the correct amount of food. Second, make sure to use up the fresh fruit and vegetables before they go bad. Cut up a quick salad or use them as a snack. You can also donate to many organizations that try to salvage food and give it to people that need it most, like Copia as I mentioned before.
We just need to be mindful of how much we have. Don’t buy food needlessly, and instead of chucking a perfectly fine piece of food into the trash, try to be creative and find ways you can recycle it. This problem is so simple to solve: all we have to do is change our mindset!
Gunders, Dana. “Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill.” Natural Resources Defense Council, 2017. https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/wasted-2017-report.pdf
Seaman, Greg. "5 Simple Ways to Reduce Food waste." Eartheasy, 2012. 5 Simple Ways to Reduce Food Waste | Eartheasy Guides & Articles | Eartheasy Guides & Articles
C. Frankel, Todd. "A Growing Number of Americans Are Going Hungry." Washington Post, 2020. A growing number of Americans are going hungry - Washington Post