When it comes to food waste, many people know little about the startling realities of this global problem. Every year over 2.9 million pounds of food are wasted across the world, yet nearly 800 million people worldwide suffer from hunger. In the U.S. alone, more than 42 million people are food insecure, including one in four residents in Georgia.
These numbers are shockingly high when you consider the amount of perfectly good food that goes uneaten each year. The Food and Agriculture Association defines food waste as a decrease of food from means other than consumption throughout the supply chain. This is visible in grocery stores, restaurants and hospitals, all of which discard unused food everyday. Waste also occurs at the individual level, whether you’re throwing away leftovers you decided not to eat or the extra food remaining on your plate after loading up at a buffet.
When food is wasted, so are labor, land, water and energy. In landfills, food occupies the most space, and it’s getting worse. Over 40 percent of food in the U.S. is thrown away, meaning that each U.S. citizen wastes an average of 20 pounds of food per month. This is why it is so important that we consciously work to reduce our waste at an individual level.
In order to do this, try to make small changes in your daily routine, such as planning your meals and shopping accordingly. When eating out, take your leftovers home and eat them later in the week. You can even try composting your food scraps instead of simply tossing them out. Lastly, volunteer your time or donate to Second Helpings Atlanta. It only takes 90 minutes to complete a full rescue and delivery route with each rescue averaging 207 pounds of food. A $25 donation helps SHA deliver 133 nutritious meals.
Do your part in reducing food waste. Let’s all fight hunger and keep perfectly good food out of landfills. It doesn’t take much effort to make a difference, and you can start right now!