Sustainable food waste management is about reducing areas of waste throughout the whole supply chain. Food waste should be thought about in a much more detailed and systematic way – it has a negative impact on society. People should rethink how they use food so that there’s less wasted. It starts with natural resources, continues with manufacturing, sales and consumption, and ends with decision making processes. EPA’s goal is to promote innovation, highlight the value and efficient management of food resources. If you manage your food waste well, it can help people save money, help people without enough to eat, and be better for the environment. The idea of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” is just the start to living a sustainable lifestyle. It is important to consider how our food affects the environment, both in terms of nutrition and packaging.
What is Wasted Food and Where Does it Come From?
The term “wasted food” is used to describe food that was not used for its intended purpose. It can be donated to feed people, turned into animal feed, composted, sent to anaerobic digestion plants or even sent to combustion facilities. Examples of food waste include unsold food from shops, unused or wasted plates of prepared food and kitchen scraps from businesses/restaurants/ households, and by-products from manufacturing facilities. The Environmental Protection Agency uses the general term “wasted food” instead of “food waste” because it indicates that food is being wasted and not used for its intended purpose. The term “food waste” implies that the food has no value, which is not accurate.
Excess Food – food that is recovered and donated to feed people
Food Waste – refers to food such as platter waste, spoiled food, or peel/rinds that are considered inedible and can be sent to feed animals, be composted or anaerobically digested, or to be landfilled or combusted with energy.
Food Loss – refers to unused food from the agricultural industry, such as unused crops or unharvested crops.
What makes Food Waste Management Important?
Every year, around the world 3 billion tons of food is wasted. In 2018, the EPA estimates that over 63 million tons of wasted food were generated in the commercial, institutional, and residential sectors. This is a wide-spread problem and contributing factors may include: buying too much food, improper storage techniques, homeowners who simply forget to put their food in the fridge before it spoils, and others. We now know more food goes to landfills and to incinerators in the United States than any other single material.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates in 2011 that Approximately 1/3 of all food made for people to eat is lost or wasted. There are many small yet impactful ways to tackle this looming issue. Things like reducing waste in your daily life, especially food, money and materials seem to have a positive effect worldwide; they allow our economy, communities and environment to be healthier.
Wasting food creates a lot of problems but also robs us of the opportunity to save money for businesses and consumers.
Waste Less and Spend Less
Preventing food waste can save you money – if you buy only the food you need, there is less chance of it going to waste. Keeping your kitchen clean also has the added benefit of reducing energy and labor costs. Ensure you store your food properly to avoid waste and make the most of what you have.
Pay Less for Waste Removal
Keeping food waste out of the trash can help organizations save money by lowering the cost of trash pickup. Some haulers will offer lower rates if they’re able to process your food scraps through a compost facility, rather than a landfill.
Receive Tax Benefits by Donating
Donating safe, healthy, and edible food to people in need may allow you to claim tax savings.
Benefiting Your Community
If you want to make a difference in your community, you can do so by preventing wasted food and recovering wholesome, nutritious food:
Donating to Help Others
Food scarcity is a major issue in the world, so you can make an impact by saving your leftovers for donation. You can donate your surplus produce, canned goods and cooking oils to charity food pantries. If you’re looking for a nonprofit in your area, be sure to check the organization’s website for information about their financial contribution process. There are many food rescue organizations across the entire country, so it is important to contact your local organization first to find out if they are able to take any more donations. In general, these types of places want you to donate perishable goods and will also help you figure out where the need is greatest in your community.
Support USDA Lunch Programs
The USDA School Lunch Program provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost, or free lunches to 31 million children every day. When we redirect food that would otherwise go to waste and share it with homes and schools, we can help feed our country’s children.
Solving World Hunger One Step at a Time
In the last four years, around 805 million people were hungry on earth. Eliminating food loss and wasted food would suffice the needs of all undernourished people. We are also expecting that it will not be necessary to increase food production or put additional pressure on natural resources in order to meet demand for the future.
Being Environmentally Conscious
Reducing food waste is an amazing step for the environment:
Emission of methane from landfills
Food that is dumped in a landfill is like tying up food in plastic and throwing it away as you can never get back the nutrients. It will start to decompose, releasing damaging greenhouse gases like methane gas.
Wasted food wastes a lot of resources like water, gasoline, energy, labor and pesticides. Why not save these with some creative ways to stop the food spoilage.
Making Healthy, Nutritious Soil
If you can’t stop yourself from wasting food, or if you can’t reduce it either, then the next best thing might be to compost it. Sending food scraps to a composting facility can create great soil that benefits plant growth. Adding compost increases soil quality, reduces runoff, and can also help plants thrive. Organic materials that are composted, such as food scraps and yard waste, improve your soil quality as well as water retention. They also offer a natural alternative to using fertilizers or pesticides.
Food Waste Management Solutions
Here are the most common and most effective ways to reduce or solve your food waste management issues:
Recycle by Composting
There are many ways food producers can deal with their waste problems. One way is to organize a composting strategy so that they can start reducing their food waste. Turning food scraps into compost not only removes the need for a waste removal company to remove your trash, it also saves you money because you don’t need to pay somebody else to produce compost.
Turn Wasted Food into Animal Feed
Composting is one way to recycle food, but it can also be done in the as feed for cattle, sheep, pigs, and other livestock.
Use Waste Food to Produce Products
There are many useful products that can be manufactured from certain kinds of waste foods, such as bio-fuels and liquid fertilizer. And sometimes, ‘left overs’ from one company can be useful in another industry for the food scrap.
We can reduce food waste by producing less so there’s no excess because then we will produce less food waste.
Aerobic Digestions Machines
Syker System has created aerobic digestion machines to reduce your carbon footprint, save your business money and improve operations. Learn more about Aerobic Digestion Machines here.
When foodstuffs become excess, they can be given to the hungry and the poor. This has significant value for people who find it difficult to afford enough food in a high-priced economy.