Food waste… what is the problem?
There is a lot of attention around our huge global food waste problem at the moment. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans discard approximately 35 million tons of food. Food waste is regularly hitting the news headlines; a quick google comes up with loads of related articles….
Starbucks U.S. food waste plan has Canadian food banks ‘delighted’ – CBC, March 2016
Can supermarkets do more than sell wonky veg to tackle food waste? – The Guardian, March 2016
the list goes on…..
Imagine a world without food waste
But, what if we are able to get a handle on our food waste problem? Imagine a world where there is no more food wasted. Will there still be a need for home composting? Absolutely! Why? The answer becomes clear if we think about the difference between food waste and food scraps.
What is food waste?
Food waste is the disposal of food that is (or was) perfectly edible. Food waste comes in many guises. Some of the most shocking images and statistics on food waste are from commercial sources. Mountains of fruits and vegetables that are rejected from farms for being too small, too big, too wonky, too ugly or the wrong color. Dumpsters of food from stores that was mis-purchased, out-of-date or overstocked. But food waste happens at home too. Wasted leftovers, forgotten vegetables at the back of the fridge, out-of-date yogurts etc.
Whilst it won’t happen overnight; food waste is avoidable and we should all make every effort to eliminate food waste. Not only are we wasting the food itself but we are wasting huge amounts of resources (water, energy, land) in producing food which is just going to be thrown away.
What are food scraps?
Even if we do completely eradicate food waste there will still be organic, compostable material produced… food scraps. Food scraps are the unavoidable waste products from food preparation; carrot peelings, apple cores, meat trimmings, bones. Food scraps are produced from the food industry, cafes, restaurants and our own homes. There are things we can do to reduce our food scraps such as resisting peeling all of our fruits and vegetables, using bones and meat leftovers in stocks and soups, and taking care when trimming fruits, vegetables and meat. But this is the place where home composting fits in… the home composting of food scraps.