An Opinion Piece: Let’s Stop Wasting Food!

Many Americans (myself included) take so much of what we have for granted. I’ll give you a few examples. Instead of being thankful that we have clean running water to bathe in, we get upset when we run out of hot water during a shower. Some of us have closets full of shoes and clothes that we never wear, or can’t even fit.

In my opinion, the most tragic part of our world that we take for granted is food! We cook food, and throw out the left overs. We let food sit in our refrigerators until it rots. We go to buffets and restaurants that throw away anything left uneaten or sent back to the kitchen.

World hunger is a real problem. There are people starving to death. You know how you feel if you skip lunch? Imagine dying from hunger…. Now Imagine all the food you threw away or caused to be thrown away just this week, or even just today.

According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten. The NRDC says that is more than 20 pounds of food per person each month. These numbers are alarming, but they are a part of a larger whole. If food is being wasted, then so is the energy and resources that are used to produce wasted food.

The NRDC reports that food production and distribution accounts for about 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, 50 percent of U.S. land and 80 percent of freshwater consumed in the U.S. Last year, NPR reported that 20 percent of what goes into municipal landfills is food. In 2012, U.S. citizens wasted 35 million tons of food.  

I’m sure by now, we all agree that food waste is a problem in the U.S. But what can be done about it?

The Huffington Post reported that France has passed a new law banning grocery stores from throwing away unspoiled food. In accordance with the new law, larger supermarkets must sign food donation contracts with charities or face a fine of up to $100,000 or two years in jail. Groceries that aren’t safe for human consumption must be used for animal feed or farm compost.

Though such laws will not solve the food crisis entirely, they do provide a step in the right direction. A problem cannot be solved until it is seen as a problem. Do your part, and stop wasting food!

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