By Rachel Harvey on KanuHawaii.org
In Hawaii, we celebrate just about everything with food, delicious dishes often accompanied by heaping servings of rice. Yumm-O!
As much as I love to cook and to eat, it is a hard fact to swallow how much food we waste, not to mention all the resources required to produce that wasted food. However, reassessing our habits with food and food waste can make for household savings, benefits to health, and reduce what we send for municipal disposal.
According to researchers for NRDC, “an average family of four in the U.S. throws away $175 of food per month. In fact, around 40% of edible food (not counting peels, bones, etc) in the U.S. gets thrown away.
Consider the following estimates of resources dedicated to food that never gets eaten:
25% of all freshwater
4% of all US oil consumption
$90 billion in losses to the US economy (over $40 billion from households)
$750 million a year just to dispose of the food
31 million tons of landfill waste.”
This food waste takes up space in our dumpsters and landfills. Across the U.S., food scraps are approximately 14% of the household waste we discard. On Oahu, a 2006 City study showed that approximately 15% of trash delivered to HPOWER is food waste.
As another NRDC researcher reports, “food waste is of concern to environmental agencies and municipalities because in landfills food waste is a primary cause of methane gas emissions, a very potent greenhouse gas.” Additionally, when food is sent to the incinerator at HPOWER, it becomes “a cause of nitrogen oxide emissions, which is also a greenhouse gas…Moreover, since food waste can contain as much as 70% water, it is not a high Btu fuel, and therefore is not well-suited for combustion,” especially when you are trying to create energy.
Please read the rest of the stories and comments at: Kanu Hawaii Story: Rethinking Food Waste.