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.
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!