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Several years ago a study commissioned by the United Nations found that, at a time when the world has more hungry people than ever before, one-third of all food is wasted. Consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food, 222 million tonnes, as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa. A previous study had found that British households threw away an estimated one metric tonne of food per year.

Of course, everyone will have some kitchen waste – no one wants to eat the potato peelings or woody stems – but Nature recycles everything. Dropped in the woods those peelings quickly become food for birds or rodents, which fertilise the ground. If these animals are not around, they become food for insects, which in turn feed the larger animals. Whatever insects don’t eat becomes food for moulds and other fungi, and what they don’t eat goes to aerobic bacteria.

In our modern society, though, we have managed to take Nature’s cycles and slice them into several crises. We use vast amounts of fertilisers, pesticides and water to grow food, ship it around the world, often throw it away uneaten — and when we throw it away, we often put in in plastic bags.

This bizarre habit has the effect of sealing the food away from the animals — furry, feathered or creeping – that would eat it, and cutting off the oxygen that would allow fungi and aerobic bacteria to breathe. That leaves only anaerobic bacteria, Nature’s emergency backup workers, who work slowly and create a bit of an odour. You might think that decomposition smells foul anyway, but a well-turned compost actually doesn’t generate much of a smell.

Moreover, anaerobic bacteria create large quantities of methane, which is a serious greenhouse gas — about 35 times worse than carbon dioxide, and accounts for about 20 per cent of the greenhouse effect.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Sustainable Uses of Food Waste

SUSTAINABLE USES OF FOOD WASTE

Food waste is considered by many people as non-useful materials. It is harmful to the environment. Greenhouse gases are released as by-products of food waste and these warm the environment, causing imaginable negative environmental impacts such as sea level rise and floods. Wasted food items are also harmful to humans. It can cause illnesses such as meningitis and foot disease if human beings come in contact with it. In general, the issues of food waste constitute a burden to people and the society. It also creates financial losses to food waste producers.

It is noteworthy that waste hardly exists in theory. When waste is produced, in essence, it means that some of the resources (such as energy, chemicals, and labour) that were used to produce the wasted product had been given off or wasted.

A lot of people are making huge efforts to eliminate food waste. However, wasteful practices seem to be inevitable in today’s world. A promising and long-lasting solution to food waste is for it to be turned into useful items and reused, thereby averting it from getting to landfill.In today’s world, it is possible to make good use of food waste by turning it into resources. And below are a few things we can do sustainably with food waste.

Hunger: A significant proportion of food waste comes from food items in good conditions that were not used before their expiry dates. As health and safety require that expired food items be discarded, such unconsumed food items are sometimes sent to landfill sites. However, instead of sending the waste to landfill, an environmentally friendly way of dealing with food items that are in a good condition is to donate them to food banks or charities prior to their expiry dates. This measure is increasingly being used by supermarkets in developed countries to alleviate hunger in the society.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Unnatural Balance: How Food Waste Impacts World’s Wildlife

Unnatural Balance: How Food Waste Impacts World’s Wildlife

New research indicates that the food discarded in landfills and at sea is having a profound effect on wildlife populations and fisheries. But removing that food waste creates its own ecological challenges. 


The world wastes more than $750 billion worth of food every year — 1.6 billion tons of food left in farm fields, sent to landfills, or otherwise scattered across the countryside, plus another seven million tons of fishery discards at sea. That waste has gotten a lot of attention lately, mostly in terms of human hunger.

Hardly anyone talks about what all that food waste is doing to wildlife. But a growing body of evidence suggests that our casual attitude about waste may be reshaping the way the natural world functions across much of the planet, inadvertently subsidizing some opportunistic predators and thus contributing to the decline of other species, including some that are threatened or endangered.

Wikimedia Commons
Discarded food can lead to overpopulation of seagulls and other animals, which can affect other wildlife populations.

new study in the journal Biological Conservation looks, for instance, at California’s Monterey Bay, where the threatened steelhead trout population has declined by 80 to 90 percent over the past century. Efforts to restore the species along the Pacific Coast have focused on major initiatives like the recent demolition of a dam that had blocked access to critical steelhead breeding grounds on the Carmel River, which empties into Monterey Bay.

But a team of co-authors led by Ann-Marie Osterback, a marine ecologist at the University of California-Santa Cruz, suspects that garbage and fishery discards might also play an underrated part in the problem. The hypothesis is that local food wastes inadvertently subsidize Western gulls in the Monterrey Bay area, and these gulls in turn prey on the juvenile steelhead trout.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Big Waste: Why Do We Throw Away So Much Food?

The Big Waste: Why Do We Throw Away So Much Food?

In an e360 video, filmmaker Karim Chrobog looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. The video focuses on Washington, D.C., which has taken steps to see that food ends up with those who need it rather than in landfills. First in a series.

BY KARIM CHROBOG

A glaring paradox of the U.S. food system is that while no country produces food as efficiently, no country wastes as much. Every year, 30 to 40 percent of what is grown and raised in the United States is thrown away or rots between farms and kitchens. That’s a startling 133 billion pounds of food — more than enough to feed the 800 million people worldwide who face hunger every day.

In this Yale Environment 360 video, we present the first of a two-part e360 series, “Wasted,” on the vexing global problem of food waste. Filmmaker Karim Chrobog visits two cities — Washington, D.C., and Seoul, South Korea — to examine why so much food goes to waste and what can be done about it. Washington, and the U.S. as a whole, has taken only minor steps to reduce this enormous waste and its related human and environmental costs. By contrast, Seoul has adopted innovative programs to minimize the amount of food that ends up going to landfills to rot.

This U.S. video explores the various links in the food chain in the Washington, D.C., area, including organizations working to cut down on food waste. Chrobog speaks with people in the trenches of this food fight, such as workers at the D.C. Central Kitchen, which collects healthy food that otherwise would be discarded and uses it to help provide 5,000 free meals a day to the needy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article and view the video…

 

The Lost Right of Gleaning | David Bollier

The Lost Right of Gleaning | David Bollier.

Amazingly, it is sometimes a criminal act to retrieve food that has been thrown away. Often it is simply seen as culturally inappropriate or embarrassing. But when an estimated $165 billion worth of food gets thrown away in the U.S. every year, surely it’s time to change our attitudes about food waste.

That was the point behind Rob Greenfield’s cross-country bicycle trip this fall. To call attention to the amount of food that is wasted, the San Diego activist spent months on the road, surviving entirely on food that he pulled out of dumpsters behind grocery stores and pharmacies.

Typically Greenfield would arrive in town on his bicycle and start to rummage through dumpsters. He usually emerged with perfectly good food – bunches of bananas, apples, boxes of unopened crackers and cookies, packs of soda, bottles of iced tea, and a smorgasbord of other perfectly edible food. Then he would take a photo of the haul of “waste.”

In a trip that took him to some 300 dumpsters, Greenfield estimates that he recovered over $10,000 worth of food and fed well over 500 people. On his website, Greenfield posted many photos of his dumpster harvests.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Food Waste: A Way of Life That Needs to Change | Underground Medic

Food Waste: A Way of Life That Needs to Change | Underground Medic.

I hate food waste. I loathe spending good money on decent food and then seeing it go into the garbage. For that reason food waste  has been banned from my home.

I understand that it can be difficult to avoid sometimes. We all have busy lives, unexpected things getting in the way of what you intended to cook that night and of course the dreaded ‘best buy’ dates on any packaging all mean that food waste is on the increase.

It doesn’t have to be like that though, there are simple strategies that help prevent a sizable chunk of your income ending up in the trash and can save you time as well. Here are a few of the things that have worked for me. A few adjustments to suit their circumstances have seen them working for many of my family and friends as well.

– See more at: http://undergroundmedic.com/?p=7059#sthash.nvwk8HBP.dpuf

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