Ms. Kira Burkhart from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published an article in the Baltimore Sun last month, stating unfathomable facts we should all be made aware of;
“The U.S. wastes 40 percent of its food supply. Let that sink in. Almost half of the food in this country goes uneaten and finds its way to a landfill, incinerator or even into Baltimore’s Jones Falls, and that food waste is a big contributor to climate change. In fact, if we were to consider food waste its own country, it’d be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the U.S. And the environmental impacts extend beyond climate change. We’re wasting water, energy and land to grow crops that just end up at the dump. Some of it may end up in places like Baltimore’s BRESCO incinerator, which spews pollutants into the air that are linked to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
At the national level, we need to tackle some of the underlying causes of so much food waste. One of the biggest reasons we discard so much food is because we’re worried our food has gone bad and we don’t want food poisoning. That’s a legitimate concern, one I know I’m certainly guilty of possessing. Much of the fear is driven by those “best by” and “sell by” date labels we see on food, but these labels aren’t standardized and don’t necessarily reflect the actual shelf-life of our food. The solution? We need to establish federal standards to label our food clearly and consistently so consumers can make better informed decisions before tossing something in the trash.
And after all of this, if the environment isn’t enough to convince you, or you think climate change concerns are overblown, I leave you with one final data point: The average American family of four wastes $1,500 worth of food a year; that’s more than six weeks’ worth of groceries for most of us.
Can you afford to throw that away?”
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