The Cardinal Times

Filed under Opinion

We must stop wasting food

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Each year, billions of pounds of food are wasted around the world, but there are still people who struggle to find enough to eat. Many people are oblivious to the fact that food waste is a big problem. People should be educated about the issue of food waste and learn the steps they can take to reduce and avoid it.

According to Somini Sengupta of the New York Times, globally we throw out about 1.3 billion tons of food a year.

In different countries, food is wasted in different ways. In wealthy countries like the United States, about 40 percent of food waste is wasted by consumers who buy too much food and have to throw some away.

However in poorer developing countries, food is lost before it even gets to the stores. It’s lost during post harvest or processing because of the inadequate conditions of the developing countries. With lack of refrigeration, it’s hard for farmers to keep food from spoiling. As a result, food is wasted.

A report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that in America, 400 pounds of food per person are thrown out annually. For a household of four, this could equate to $1,800 of wasted food. In addition to money, Americans should be aware of other resources used to produce food that are wasted when food is wasted. Twenty-one percent of the freshwater that the United States uses in the agricultural industry to get food from farms to stores is wasted. Food waste accounts for 2.6 percent of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions, which negatively impacts the environment with the carbon footprint it leaves.

The USDA has a goal to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030, which should help address these environmental problems. They offer the Food Waste Challenge for businesses and organizations, who can participate by reducing, recovering and recycling food waste.

Food waste in America is mainly an issue at home. People who don’t know how to read best-by labels on packages will throw out food too soon. Many Americans buy more than they need and then have to throw food away.

To fix this problem, people should first understand how serious the problem of food waste is.

Americans should buy less food, and stores should work to make sure their best-by labels are understandable.

Food that is about to go bad but can still be eaten can be donated to food kitchens so that it can be given to those in need.

It’s time for America to change. Taking these small steps to reduce food waste can add up to a big change that will positively impact our environment and make sure that no food goes to waste.

 

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