“Imagine walking out of a grocery store with four bags of groceries, dropping one in the parking lot, and just not bothering to pick it up. That’s essentially what we’re doing.”
~ Dana Gunders, NRDC Scientist and Author of Waste Free Kitchen Handbook and Food Waste Warrior
We live in a world of contradictions when it comes to our food supply. Globally, nearly ⅓ of all food produced ends up as food waste. In America alone, 40% of the food produced is never eaten. That’s almost half of the food in the country! And despite all of this food waste, 1 in 8 Americans are struggling to feed themselves and their families.
Food waste isn’t only about throwing out an uneaten plate of pasta — though that definitely is a big part of the equation. Food waste includes any food lost during each stage of the food lifecycle: (1) farming + cultivation; (2) processing; (3) retail; and (4) consumption. The piece of the food lifecycle that is most wasteful depends on where you live. In lower-income countries, food loss mostly occurs during production. Meanwhile, developed countries like the U.S. waste close to 220 lbs of food per year per person at consumption — meaning at our tables and in our fridges. And it’s no better on college campuses, food waste totals 22 million pounds.
Wasting food wastes everything water, labor, fuel, money, and love.~Save the Food Campaign
The image of all this good food going to waste may be hard to swallow, but what adds an extra layer of urgency is that food waste is causing a significant negative impact on our planet. How? Rotting food in our landfills emits methane, a strong greenhouse gas.
If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions.
That puts it right behind China and the United States. Across the globe, close to 3.3 billion tons of CO2 is created by processing food that ultimately goes to waste.
The bright side to all of these dark statistics? One of the best ways to impact food waste is consumer behavior – so that means the foods you eat and buy! Companies like Patagonia Provisions are thinking critically about their supply chain and products to help reduce food waste and reinvent how we produce our food. Meanwhile, Save the Food and Food Tank are working to raise consumer awareness and create actionable steps people can take to help reduce their food waste. Through more mindful and conscientious action, you can make a big dent in your own food waste statistics.
Food waste is a big, complex topic. Sometimes it is easiest to think about it on the smallest level — the lifecycle of a single piece of food. From farm to shipping container to store to your plate. Given food production currently, it can be easy to feel disconnected from what’s on your table. Take a second to consider how often you think about the food you throw out or never get around to eating.
Upload your responses in a PDF document. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
How often do you really take note of what you toss at each meal? How much food ends up in the trash in your dining halls or even from your own refrigerator. One of the biggest problems with food waste is the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Once you’ve tossed something you don’t want, you probably never have to see it again. But, like most environmental conservation, once you have an idea of what happens to uneaten food, it’s easier to keep it in your mind’s eye.
Upload a PDF Document with your 5 facts, pictures of your 3 food items with responses, and a screenshot of your social media post. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
Due on 10/13 at 6am PT. We will award up to 50 bonus points based on quality of work.
You’ve considered how much food you waste individually, but have you thought about how much food goes to waste on your campus? Now it’s time to dig in and understand how your school has been working to reduce their food waste and how you might be able to reduce it even more.
Upload a PDF document with the responses and photos. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
Extra Credit due on October 15 @ 6am PT. Up to 50 points awarded for outstanding work.
What happens with food waste in your own personal life? Where does it go when it’s too far gone to eat. Or what happens to the apple cores, shells from peas…
Dive a bit more deeply into how you can actually reduce your food waste footprint. Create a dish out of scraps or items that might have gone into compost or landfill.
Share a photo of your dish and recipe on a social media platform of your choice. Tag @TurningGreenOrg and use the hashtags #Savethefood and #PGC2017.
Upload a PDF document with your photo and responses. Include a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.