Food Waste in the U.S.
It is estimated that around 45% of all food produced in the United States eventually ends up going to waste. This amounts to approximately 40-60 million tons of food going to a landfill each year! Although many feel that it is not bad to waste so much food because it is biodegradable, it does lead directly to climate change. This is because when food is breaking down, it releases methane , which is 30 times worse for the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, due to its ability to trap heat.
How to Minimize Food Waste
Since biodegrading food does release methane into the atmosphere, many companies are starting to use anaerobic digesters to turn this waste into energy. These digesters are starting to become more popular on farms all around Western New York to help power all the technologies needed specifically on dairy farms. In fact, they are becoming so popular that stores like Wegmans now sends their expired and unused food to various farms including; Lawnhurst Farms, Noblehurst Farms, and Natural Upcycling. Anaerobic digesters will soon be seen all over New York State for major companies as well as schools to dispose of their excess food waste.
How can I Dispose of my Food Waste?
Anaerobic digesters are great at reducing waste and producing energy for large scale waste producers. The only problem with this is that it is easier to do on a commercial level. It is too hard to manage small garbage bags from single households at the moment since this technology is relatively new to the United States. Until a process is put in place that allows for the dumping of municipal waste, there are still other alternatives to landfilling for food waste. One example is composting. Composting creates nutrient-rich soil which helps when added to gardens tremendously in growing crops and plants. If large companies as well as single homes in the United States started to find alternative ways to dispose of their food waste, we could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by over 17%!