What About Food Waste?

Food waste occurs all along the food chain, but the largest waste comes from consumer-facing businesses. A restaurant’s broad menu of dishes that may not be ordered and huge portions designed to attract customers are big sources of waste. Food safety regulations require buffets from schools to restaurants to throw away everything not served. Impeccable planning is demanded.

American food production has a tremendous resource cost – 10% of the nation’s total energy budget, 50% of its land, and 80% of all U.S. freshwater consumption is dedicated to the production and distribution of food. Much of this is wasted, as 40% of all food ends up in landfills. Transporting food is costly. Paying in natural resources, energy, and cash to move what we throw away is not wise.

People often think that tossing organic matter like food in the trash is not a problem. A landfill is anaerobic, and the extended decomposition of food in that environment produces methane, a serious greenhouse gas. Food waste becomes a climate problem.

Composting food waste in an oxygenated environment is effective, either in your home composter, completely closed to rats and other varmints. Food waste in the yard bin goes to a pile of organic matter so hot as to be very efficient. If you choose to compost some of your kitchen waste in a closed bin, I have 10,000 worms to help you get you started. They love melon!

~ Brenda Kame’enui