How to best address problem of food waste in the U.S.

Forty percent of the food that’s grown in the United States is never eaten, and often what’s left over is tossed and ends up in landfills, which can impact the environment.

Members of the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at RIT talked about ways to consume 100 percent of the food grown in our country and around the world. Food waste has potentially higher biogas than any other sources like agriculture and wastewater sludge.

The forum, in efforts to find solutions to curb food waste in our community, came down to this.

“One hundred percent utilization. We need to look at models where we produce the amount of food we need to consume as human beings to sustain life and no more.”

Thomas Mcquillan, the vice president of Baldor Specialty Foods, says that our culture allows people to see food as a disposable item. 

“The only opportunity for that food product to breakdown and is to release gases. That’s what seeping out of our landfill today. In the instances where we are not capturing that gas, it goes into our environment,” said McQuillan.

The speakers during this forum said it’s going to take more technology and policy trends that will drive future developments in efforts to divert food waste from getting to landfills.

Some major grocery chains have prevention efforts right now. Chris Foote is the sustainability coordinator for Wegmans.

“We have food waste diversion in all of our stores. We started that program 10 years ago, so food waste, going to composite anaerobic process digestion where its actual food waste converted into electricity, so we’re set,” said Foote.

One of the food waste success stories they mentioned was in Oakland, California where a waste water treatment plant converted food scraps into energy.

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