Reducing Waste in the Kitchen
The kitchen is not only the location for much of our household consumption, it’s also the source of much of our household waste production, including one of the worst greenhouse-gas-producing waste products — food waste.
A Few Facts About Food Waste
According to a National Resources Defense Council report, getting food from farm to table uses 10% of our nation’s energy budget. This morning on MPR, Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, said that we use about 40 percent of the (non-ice-covered) land on the planet to grow food, and “70% of all the water we consume is used to irrigate crops.” Agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to climate change.
That’s an extremely costly food chain and yet approximately 40% of all food produced in the world is never eaten. According to the EPA, 21% of our municipal waste is food waste. More food goes to landfills and incinerators than any other type of material.
Not only are we losing an estimated $165 billion in food that could be used to feed hungry people, but food in landfills produces methane as it decays. Methane is 21 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide so this is a very big deal. Landfills are the source of 20% of all methane emissions.