By Marianne Comfort, member of the Mercy Justice Team
Over one-third of the food produced in the United States is never eaten. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this means we are wasting the resources used to produce that food and creating many environmental harms.
A significant part of the problem is that food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills, where it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Municipal solid waste landfills are the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.1 percent of these emissions in 2017, the EPA reports.
Reducing food waste can reduce our individual and national carbon footprint.
Decreasing food waste can also lessen the need for new food production, shrinking projected deforestation, biodiversity loss, water pollution, water scarcity and greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production. In 2015, the United States announced a goal to halve U.S. food loss and waste by 2030, but the nation has not yet made significant progress.
Roughly half of food waste occurs at the consumption stage in households, restaurants and other food service sites. Fruits, vegetables, dairy and eggs are the most frequently wasted foods.
Make creative use of your freezer. Use it to store leftovers and scraps of food that could be added to soup or smoothies rather than dumped into the garbage.
Sustainable America offers tips for organizing your freezer to reduce food waste. However, you don’t need to go out and buy another freezer to expand space because that just increases your energy consumption. Consider what you can do with the freezer you already have.