In the United States, we waste 40% of food produced, and an alarming 90% of that goes to the landfill, where it emits methane gas which is a mere 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. If that statistic doesn’t do anything for you, then how about that the average American spends about $1,500 a year on food they are just going to throw away.
Did you know that nearly 40% of the food produced in the United States ends up in the landfill? And about 95% of this discarded food ends up in landfills or combustion facilities where it contributes significantly to greenhouse gas production. If global food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the U.S. and China (1). Crazy, right?!
Did you know that Washtenaw County has a food policy council? You may be asking yourself, what is food policy and why is it important to our community? According to Anthony Flaccavento, a food systems consultant and commercial organic farmer, policy is best understood as a framework that influences behavior. Thus, a food policy council is a group of community members gathered together to influence and steer issues related to food in a given region.
The amount of food wasted in our nation is stunning.
“In the United States, 31 percent — or 133 billion pounds — of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
From the point of view of a food business, this statistic erodes already slim profit margins. The USDA goes on to say, “the estimated value of this food loss (in 2010) was $161.6 billion using retail prices.” To bring that down to earth for us, here’s a quote from ‘80’s television icon Mr. T, “That ain’t no chump change!”
The storm that tore across Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties last month uprooted trees and damaged homes. But it also beat up a lot of locally grown produce, leaving it unable to meet our “perfect produce” standards.
By Bill Palladino
I like this one. My family tries very, very, hard to narrow our waste stream. It’s evident every week on our street. Our neighborhood’s garbage service uses bright red bags, and in the snow we’ve had they stand out. Our home only has a red bag in front of it once a month or less often. On the other hand, our recycling is always piled much higher than the neighbor’s. We even have two bins to everyone else’s single one.