Why should we care about food waste and composting?
Most people don’t realize how often they waste food and the negative impacts it can have for food security, the environment, and climate change. Safe and wholesome food that is currently thrown away could help to feed hungry people and reduce food insecurity. Reducing food loss and waste could benefit us all. It is estimated that ~30-40% of the total food supply is lost at retail and consumer levels. As of 2010 the above amounted to ~$161 billion USD.
By reducing food waste, farmers, businesses, and local governments can save money by just keeping wasted food separated, donated or in other words… out of the garbage!
The USDA estimated that on average, households could save about $370 per person annually. For a family of four these are savings of ~$1,500 each year.
Most importantly, resources could be conserved for more productive uses. When food is wasted, we are throwing out the door the costs in labor, water and energy used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and finally… disposing of the discarded food.
Apart from economizing, we can contribute to mitigate climate change and improve our environment by reducing greenhouse gases generated from food rotting in landfills. According to EPA (the U.S Environmental Protection Agency), food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills, where it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Municipal solid waste landfills are the 3rd source of human-related methane emissions in the US, accounting for ~14% of these emissions (2017).
Home or Backyard Composting has been proven to be the most efficient and economical option over other alternatives as it reduces the costs associated with drop-off and pickup services for both, individuals, and governmental agencies, PLUS it does not involve gas emissions from transportation.
Visit this website to learn more about composting, HOTBIN, and how to start composting today!
Ref. USDA at https://www.usda.gov/foodlossandwaste