You Bought It, You Eat It – Don’t Waste Food
More than 4.5 million tons of food is wasted every year in the U.S. – about 25% of edible food. That’s enough to fill the Rose Bowl every single day, according to Jonathan Bloom’s book Wasteland.
It’s not just people throwing away food that went bad or that they didn’t like. Food is wasted in every possible way: for example, crops not picked in fields or orchards, fishing bycatch that’s tossed overboard, produce damaged in transportation, parts cut off in processing, overproduction in the kitchen, and items purchased but not eaten by consumers.
Wasted Food = Wasted Energy and Water
Growing, processing, and transporting food all use fossil-fuel energy via farm and processing equipment and inputs such as fertilizer. Those are associated with greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere. When we waste food, we are in essence wasting energy and contributing to climate change.
Wasted Food = Methane Gas Emitted in Landfills
Organic matter such as food scraps that ends up in landfills slowly decomposes. As it does, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 to 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Landfills are currently responsible for more than 20% of all U.S. methane emissions, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. By contrast, when food and things like paper napkins and cardboard cups are composted — meaning allowed to decompose naturally alongside other carbon-based items in a controlled, open pile — they produce carbon dioxide instead of methane, and a nutrient-rich result can be used to fertilize new crops.
What You Can Do:
- Become aware of the food you are wasting.;
- Make an effort to use the food you have before purchasing more.
- Find creative uses for slightly overripe food items – some fruits can be frozen before they have gone bad and then baked or blended when you have the time (think: fruit smoothies, banana bread, berry crisp).
- If you eat out, order only what you can eat – or bring home excess portions for another meal.
- The CO2i emissions associated with the container are far less than those associated with the food.
- Start composting! Check out the EPA’s Guide to Starting Your Own Composting Pile.
What Bon Appétit Management Company Is Doing:
Bon Appétit is prioritizing waste reduction according to the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy — ensuring that our teams make landfills their last resort. We committed that by the end of 2018:
- all accounts will be actively preventing waste at the source in at least one way (for example, by purchasing through the Imperfectly Delicious Produce program);
- all accounts will be diverting waste from landfills in at least one way (for example, by composting unavoidable food waste); and
- at least 80 percent of accounts will be Food Recovery Certified, meaning they are regularly (not just occasionally) donating their excess food to people in need, as verified by an independent third party.
We’re tracking progress on a monthly basis towards these (and other) commitments using the Food Standards Dashboard. If you’d like to read more about Bon Appetit’s commitment to prevent and reduce waste, please visit our website.
Learn More | Go to General Resources
- Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill, by Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC)
- Wasted Food, by Jonathan Bloom, author of book Wasteland
- The Climate Change and Economic Impacts of Food Waste in the US
- US Environmental Protection Agency: Sustainable Management of Food
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): Food Loss and Food Waste