Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wasted Food

While looking at a favorite co-op site, the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society, I saw a link to an article on the New York Times site and thought that it sounded interesting. It was.

One Country's Table Scraps, Another Country's Meal is full of facts about how much food we waste in the U.S., whether at home or at restaurants. The story discussed some actions that are being taken to distribute some of the wasted food (food banks picking up from restaurants, and so on) or to at least compost it, rather than put it into landfills.

Here are few startling bits from the story:

  • "...the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Americans generate roughly 30 million tons of food waste each year, which is about 12 percent of the total waste stream. All but about 2 percent of that food waste ends up in landfills; by comparison, 62 percent of yard waste is composted."
  • "America’s Second Harvest — The Nation’s Food Bank Network...reports that donations of food are down 9 percent, but the number of people showing up for food has increased 20 percent. The group distributes more than two billion pounds of donated and recovered food and consumer products each year."
I have noticed recently that several restaurants clearly state they are composting their food waste -- the Birchwood Cafe and Common Roots are two that come to mind -- and the local food co-ops generally work with the food banks or food shelves to distribute aging produce and other food that would otherwise go to waste.

Let's hope more restaurants and stores catch on to this trend.

P.S. I couldn't help being amused by the content of the Google ads that accompanied the New York Times article: First --Large Trash Bags. For 65 and 95 gallon Trash Carts $15 Flat Rate UPS Ground Shipping. Second -- Trash Disposal. Find Local Garbage Removal Services in Your Area with Superpages. Third -- Need a Trash Compactor? Find Powerful GE Trash Compactor at Low Prices.


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