Feed people, not landfills

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that around 35 million tons of food waste was generated in 2010, of which 97% was thrown away in landfills or incinerators.

At the same time, more than 14% of households in the United States were food insecure, meaning they did not know where their next meal would come from.

The EPA's Food Recovery Hierarchy displays the most preferred and least preferred methods for dealing with food waste. Photo EPAThrough its new campaign "Feed People, Not Landfills," the EPA is looking to connect people and businesses who have excess food with hungry families in need – helping communities, saving money and reducing food waste.

"Much of the food that is discarded in landfills is actually safe, wholesome food that could have been used to feed people," the EPA said.

The EPA's Food Recovery Hierarchy displays the most preferred and least preferred methods for dealing with food waste. Photo: EPA

To keep edible food out of landfills and bring it to people in need, the EPA is calling on businesses, such as grocers, universities, stadiums and other venues, to take part in the Food Recovery Challenge by changing up their business models to reduce waste at its source, then donate leftovers to local food banks, shelters and other services.

However, managing the food waste problem of the nation (and the world) isn't only a task for businesses. Consumers also play a key role in the process, and the EPA offers loads of helpful tips to help you cut back at home.

"The best way to reduce food waste is to not produce that waste to begin with by finishing the food you already have first, and then only buying and preparing what you need," an EPA spokesperson said, and never a truer word was spoken.

In a recent study by the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers (http://greenreview.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/almost-half-of-world-food-thrown-away.html) an estimate of around 2 billion tons was made as regards to wasted food, from field to store, to consumer, etc.

It is estimated that about half of all food produced does not even make it to the store shelves and one of the main reasons is that supermarket buyers reject produce that, they claim, does not look the way consumers wish it to look. Thus misshapen fruit and vegetables are left to rot in the fields.

There is much to be done by way of educating people as to reducing food waste and this also begins with accepting fruit and veg in shapes that Nature creates for Nature does not make evenly shaped vegetables.

In addition to people will have to be educated what “sell by” and “use by” and “best before” dates actually mean and that, in more cases that not food that has gone a day or even more past the “best before” date is perfectly fine to use.

In addition the law also requires changing so that stores do not have to thrown and destroy food, as they are, in the UK, required to do at present.

More often than not food thrown out by market traders and stores has to be rendered inedible by means of chlorine bleach being poured over it so that people will not salvage this food out of the bins.

No wonder we have folks going hungry and food waste while at the same time government and industry try to keep brainwashing the people into accepting genetically modified and -engineered foods by claiming that GMOs are required to feed the people.

If all the wasted food could be harnessed then there would be enough to feed all the hungry several times over. That, however, does not fit into the schemes of industry and government.

© 2013