One third of all food that is produced in the world, is never eaten. 'Food Waste' is defined as all food that was intended for human consumption that was removed from the human food chain for one reason or another. Though this food waste happens at many levels along the production line (farms, manufacturing, distribution, homes) 43% of the waste happens at the household level in the United States. Individuals can make a big impact on food waste both by influencing the economy and through their own personal practices. This page will help you understand your food waste and how you can reduce waste to save money and the planet!
Food Waste - a BIG impact
In the United States, 40% of all food goes to waste. This is significantly more than the world average. At the same time, 42 million Americans are food insecure, which means that they lack consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. This wasted food is not only a missed opportunity for people in need, it also costs resources to produce, and when the food is wasted, the energy, water, and land it took to produce is also wasted. And on the backend, this disposed of food makes up 20% of our landfill and is the main cause of landfill related greenhouse gasses.
Click below to learn more about food waste, why it happens, and why it's important to reduce.
It's important to understand why food waste happens in order to find solutions. The following solutions are categorized by the main causes of food waste. The first step is understanding why you waste. Some people are over-buyers and others are leftover-neglecters. Start by examining your own waste stream so you know what areas to target. And most importantly, be realistic! Not everyone has time to do extensive prepping and that's ok. Finding solutions that work for you is a process, we hope we can help.
Smart Shopping is one of the quickest ways to prevent food waste while also saving money. Research has shown that most of us do not check our fridge and pantries before heading off to the grocery store. This results in duplicate items being purchased and generates food waste.
Click below for tips on how to come away from the grocery store with a basket of food that will get enjoyed down to the last bite.
Smart Prepping, Storing, and Planning
After the grocery store or the farmers market, knowing how to store your food properly is an important next step to make sure nothing goes to waste. Click the link to better understand how to store food to make it last and techiniques to ensure you eat it before it goes bad.
To eat or not to eat...
Even if we've planned to the tee and followed all the best techniques, sometimes things don't go exactly how we want. But unappetizing food doesn't always mean bad food! There are many fun projects to give your food a second life. And it's also important to know when to call it quits and compost the food instead.
Click below for information on date labels, cosmetic imperfections, ingredient repurposing, and food safety.
Food Recovery and Diversion
When circumstances do result in food we are not going to eat, we at least want to keep it from going to the landfill. The EPA has developed a hierarchy of food recovery to help guide priorities for managing excess food. At the top of the pyramid It essentially applies the “reduce, reuse, recycle” approach, with a bit more detail. The actions at the top of the Food Recovery Hierarchy have much greater environmental benefits than do those toward the bottom, and often financial and social benefits as well. Source reduction is placed at the highest level, being the most preferred option in the hierarchy.
If you can't reduce, can you compost it?
Laws and Regulations
California has progressive goals when it comes to the environment. Click to read a few of the legislature around Food Waste reduction and diversion.