Fighting against food waste

Photo Courtesy Of: Biogen

Photo Courtesy Of: Biogen

Ben Zalles, Staff writer and photographer

Do you know how much food we waste?

Food waste is defined as food that is thrown away or discarded and as a result, is considered non consumable. This can include throwing away anything from leftovers at a restaurant to moldy produce that wasn’t eaten in time. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the US produced about 133 billion pounds of food waste within the year 2010, which resulted in the loss of 161.6 billion dollars. To put this into perspective, 40 million people struggle with hunger in the United States due to their limited access to food. On the other hand, people that are able to afford food often take for granted the value in the food they discard. Although food waste is an issue within the United States that is often overlooked, numerous people are impacted by it each year.

Why is it important?

Instead of going to families in need of a proper meal, discarded food is sent to landfills to be thrown away. As a result, the food is not salvaged for later consumption, and less is available to those who cannot afford to feed themselves. Too many people in the United States suffer from poverty and hunger due to insufficient income and limited access to their basic needs. The major problem is that although the United States is one of the largest producers of food in the world, it is not able to support millions of people that struggle with hunger.

So what can you do?

Food waste boils down to issues of morality and what people are willing to give up to benefit those that are less fortunate than themselves. As individuals, people can make minor changes in their lifestyle that will make a big difference in the long run. Changes that can be made include buying food that people know will be used, freezing food that isn’t eaten, and even going the extra mile by starting a compost pile. Donating food to a local food drive or dedicating time at least once a week that focuses on helping people with limited access to food is also a great way to give back and help others. Volunteering can also be rewarding, in that it gives someone a chance to gain a different perspective on life,help others that are less fortunate, and a feeling of accomplishment. Solving the issue of food waste is not one that can be done by a single person, and must be a collective effort made by individuals across the United States.