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Food Waste In America

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Today is Blog Action Day for 2011.  It is the one day of the year that this organization attempts to get bloggers all over the world to blog about one particular topic that affects everyone.  This year’s topic is FOOD.

While some bloggers may choose to blog about their favorite restaurant or their favorite food, I’m choosing to blog about food waste.  While thinking about my topic for today, I came across a previous blog post that cited some statistics about food waste in America.  I didn’t research the authenticity of the data cited, but on the surface, the numbers are staggering.  Here are just a few statistics:

  • A report completed in 1997 cited a statistic of 91 Billion pounds of food waste in 1995 by consumers and food service.
  • Food disposal costs the US about $1 Billion each year.
  • Households waste approximately 14% of their food purchases each year; 15% of this waste is still within the expiration but never opened.
  • An average family of 4 tosses out $590 of food each year in meat, fruits, vegetables and grains.  This doesn’t even include packaged food that gets thrown out!

What I’m Doing To Change

In preparation for today, I made the conscious decision that I would eat only food that I could find within my pantry.  I would not go shopping for food to prepare.  For breakfast, I had some old pop tarts that I found at the back of my pantry, and a banana that I purchased earlier in the week that is turning brown.  For lunch, I’ll rummage through my refrigerator and eat perishable leftovers from previous dinners.  Most likely, I’ll heat up some meatloaf that I made earlier in the week.  This is hard for me, since I really don’t like eating leftover food.  I clean out my refrigerator every Tuesday (garbage day is Wednesday), and I know that I unnecessarily toss out food that I could and should eat.

Food Recycling

I don’t just toss my food into the garbage can.  I’m a recycling nut.  In addition to the standard paper, aluminum and glass recycling, I also compost my food waste.  I think I do it so that I don’t feel too guilty about throwing out food.  Over the years, I’ve tried many different composting methods, from vermicomposting (worms), BSFL (Black Soldier Fly Larvae), to my most recent method, Bokashi.

I would encourage you to try any or all of the methods I’ve tried.  Bokashi is the simplest and easiest, but can be costly if you have lots of food waste.  Vermicomposting is probably the most widely accepted and best known.  You’ve probably seen worm tea (a by-product) sold at your local gardening store.  The most intriguing composting method (and most misunderstood) is BSFL.  This technique is being promoted in 3rd world countries as a method of handing food AND human waste.  BSFL can decompose food quickly in the right climate.  Unfortunately, I’ve had difficulty cultivating a colony here in Woodinville, WA because the summers are so short and don’t get warm enough for the BSFL to reproduce on a large scale.  I’m not giving up though, because I like the potential and challenge!  Here are two short videos of what BFSL can do…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnfkW4WgtG8[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6lLnzqt8wk[/youtube]

For more information, check out www.blacksoldierflyblog.com

To view the report of Food Waste statistics, click Food loss.

I hope this post changes the way you think about food…

When REALiTY BiTES, bite back!

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