Food Waste in America (Team Change)

When going to the dining hall, there are sometimes so many great options that you can’t help but pick up 3 different plates. Usually, this leaves you with 3 plates semi touched and a whole lot of food waste.

When you think about food waste in regards to your own actual waste, the effects can seem minimal. However, the reality of it is that in the US alone, 30-40% of all food supply is wasted. Worldwide, almost 1/3 of the food produced goes to waste.

An obvious issue with these statistics is the amount of people that die from hunger when there is so much food not being used. According to studies done on world hunger, 1 in 9 people suffer from undernourishment and about 21,000 people die of hunger related issues every day. That being said, if the 1/3 of the food produced did not go to waste but instead went to people who actually needed it, the world would see a lot less hunger.

Not only is this food waste bad for the world in regards to all of the hungry people that could be eating it, but it is detrimental for the environment as well. The food waste that ends up in landfills creates large amounts of methane, which is arguably more harmful to the atmosphere than CO2 emissions. FoodWastePic.jpg

Food waste is an issue with extremely negative consequences, but is a relatively easy fix! On an individual level, it can be combated with something as simple as being mindful of how much food you are consuming and buying. Bringing back leftovers from restaurants or events also minimizes the waste coming these large sources of food.

Composting is another great way to combat this issue. Not only does compositing food reduce waste, but it also has benefits like being a soil conditioner and introduces beneficial organisms to the soil. Here at UD, compositing isn’t available in the dining halls, but imagine the amount of food that would be saved from the landfills if it was? This is something that could be looked into in order to make change on campus.

Even if introducing composting is not completely reasonable at the moment, even just making people aware of the issues coincided with food waste can make a difference. Having signs up at the dining hall that talk about what really happens when you don’t touch your 3 plates may make people think about their actions next time. This is why food waste should be addressed as a movement on campus!

 

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3 thoughts on “Food Waste in America (Team Change)

  1. I really like this topic because I think food waste is very prominent at UD. I know I am guilty of doing exactly what you described with grabbing multiple plates and not finishing them all. I think this would be a great topic for your team to focus on, but maybe lean towards the composting aspect. I know it is easy to think that the food you are throwing out here could help save the starving people in the world, but in reality the execution of something like that is not very plausible. However, putting the wasted food to good use by composting it would help the environment and also possibly the hungry people depending on where the compost is used. I think this is a movement that would be totally possible to advocate for here because I remember seeing compost trash cans at other colleges when I was touring them. I think our college wants to be more green and doing something like this would fit right into that movement. Great job picking an interesting topic!

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  2. This idea is really relevant to the UD campus! Food waste has also been a issue that I’ve especially noticed as I’ve been eating at the dining halls this year. Even with the small portions, it’s really easy to get too much food and then not be able to finish it — I know I’ve done that multiple times. I think that food waste in an issue that a lot of people at UD would get behind and support. It’s also fairly manageable to create real and effective change regarding this topic. With the composting idea, I think it would be really cool to bring that up to the dining hall services. Composting is really easy to do and the benefits really exceed the costs in this case. It also might be cool to try and somehow connect composting at the dining hall with the UD farm on campus. Overall awesome topic! 

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  3. I am so down for this! There is so much energy and money wasted in producing food that becomes trash. So much food is thrown away before it even gets to stores because it doesn’t “look appealing enough.” Small imperfections that really have no effect on the food are the deciding factors as to whether or not a farm can sell produce to a distributer. Beyond that, grocery stores rely on shelves teeming with a false abundance of food, overstocking to the point of absurdity because we are conditioned not to buy something if it looks like there isn’t enough. Have you never walked through a grocery store and thought “Why are there so many different kinds of pickles?” (no offense to pickles).
    Composting is one of the best things you can do to reduce food waste and improve soil and it is essential to a proper soil and plant life cycle.

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