Earlier this month Massachusetts laid down the law on food waste in the state by requiring those businesses that produce more than a ton of food waste each week to either donate their waste or send it to facilities that can use it for further means (composting, waste to energy, animal feed).
This is fantastic news considering that we waste up to 40% of our food and that 20% of our methane production comes from the breakdown of organic materials in landfills. However, as Brian Palmer reports, there are still considerations to be taken when going this eco-friendly route.
Lauding the MA law, in an recent article on One Earth, Palmer explains the benefits and potential fall-backs of composting, anaerobic digestion (part of the waste-to-energy process) and landfills. Though these first two show an immense amount of promise, there are pitfalls to their operations if things aren’t done carefully. These are quandaries with easy solutions; it’s just important to do it right. Palmer gives some advice to the average consumer too:
Here’s the good news: Although picking the most environmentally responsible food waste disposal method is full of variables and unknowns for restaurateurs and hospital administrators, the average consumer’s choice is simple. Compost food waste in your backyard, and use the fertilizer in your garden."
With more advice on how to reduce food waste for the average consumer, Maryn McKenna of National Geographic explains tthe art of using old grains to make new dishes. In a quick trip around the world, she mentions a number of dishes made with stale corn tortillas, rice and bread. Not only are these good looking recipes, she notes how their real benefits lay in reducing food waste:
This is important, because we should all be working hard to put less food in the trash. If we could claw back from the garbage food that gets discarded too early, we could increase the amount of nutrition available for the world’s burgeoning population, while honoring the effort of farmers and food processors whose hard work we are about to toss."
And last but not least, consider the banana. Here’s a cute and informative Take Part slide show showing 9 different things you can do with a banana peel before you put it in your compost. Shine your shoes, treat your warts, tenderize your meat, and get more mileage out of your banana than you might have ever known you could.
Solving the issue of food waste is emerging as a huge global challenge. It’s nice to know that there are some viable and tractionable solutions.
- Mass. To Make Big Food Wasters Lose The Landfill via NPR: The Salt
- What Am I Going to Do With All This Food? via One Earth
- La Cuisine Des Perdus: The Art of Eating Old Stuff via National Geographic: The Plate
- 9 Unexpected Reasons You should Never Trash Banana Peels via Take Part
Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson