Have you ever wondered about the amount of food waste in our country? Check out these facts:
Every year, in America, we throw away 96 BILLION pounds of food.
One half of all food prepared in the US and Europe never gets eaten.
The Department of Agriculture estimated in 1996 that recovering just 5 percent of the food that is wasted could feed four million people a day; recovering 25 percent would feed 20 million people. Today we recover less than 2.5 percent.
(All information taken from Dive! The Film)
Recently, my husband and I watched a documentary - Dive! The Film - a short and sweet personal documentary by Jeremy Seifert. It starts out by showing Jeremy and his friends ‘dumpster diving,’ or taking food thrown away from grocery stores out of dumpsters. They and their families then eat that food. While initially the idea sounds repulsive, the more you see the incredible amount of waste – and that there is a solution – the more you see that these ‘freegans’ might be on to something.
The amount of food thrown away by grocery stores is astounding and horrifying to say the least – and then to think of all this food, which could have been donated if there was enough forward thinking involved – instead rotting in landfills and producing methane gas. The EPA has a nice little informational page about food waste, too.
The film definitely caused me to think more about wasting and what I throw away – and what we can do about chains throwing away food. Did you know that stores are afraid of donating food to even feed animals at local sanctuaries because they don’t want to be held liable if a human accidentally consumes it? This is not spoiled milk and cheese we’re talking about, it’s veggies and fruit past the ‘expiration’ date. How has our society become one that we are so worried about being sued that a business can’t donate food and instead chooses to throw it away? Amazing.
I highly recommend watching Dive! - it will definitely change the way you think about food.
What can YOU do, right now? First, you can start composting – that will help keep food scraps out of your trash. You can ask grocery stores to donate their soon-to-expire food to local food banks and help feed the hungry people in your community. Chickens eat food scraps, too!