Better ways to dispose of food waste
Food waste is certainly not the most desired topic for a conversation; however, it undeniably is a growing environmental problem worldwide and one of the major culprits in destroying our planet.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, one-third of all food produced in the world – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes – is lost or wasted every year. In the United States, an estimated 133 billion pounds of edible food (worth over $161 billion) goes to waste every year.
The greenhouse gases released by food waste decomposing in the landfill and throughout its production is costing the world $411 billion worth of damage.
The research by Brian Roe, a professor at the Ohio State University, in 2015 indicates that 77 percent of respondents said they felt guilty about wasting food, but 51 percent also said it would be difficult to reduce household food waste further. It seems like even guilt is not a big motivator to change our behaviors.
We first have to put effort into reducing wasted food in the first place but for what already being wasted, we at least should come up with a better way to make disposal of food waste less unpleasant and also more environmental friendly.
Garbage Disposal Unit
When I came to New York City for the first time, I was so stunned by the absence of a garbage disposal unit. In Philadelphia where I spent my college years, the garbage disposal unit is a convention and major way to dispose of food waste. Installed between the sink's drain and the trap, the garbage disposal unit is a convenient device for getting rid of some food waste. Considering its impact on the environment, especially on chemical composition and aquatic life, the garbage disposal unit might not be the best solution to dispose of food waste. However, on the user side, it has many merits and has solved many traditional problems in disposing of food waste, from making cleaning dishes easier to keeping the pipes clear of food scraps.
Although I have lived in New York for about five months, I still don’t have a clear sense of how food waste should be dealt with. Besides blue and green bins for recycling glass, metal, paper and plastic, there is a brown bin for organic waste. In the back of my head, I know the existence of brown bins but sadly, I have never seen this in person. Even if brown bin collection is highly encouraged by the government, those bins are not frequently available in many apartment buildings.
Indoor Food Recycler
Although Korea, the country I originally come from, has a slightly better policy compared to the United States, disposing of food waste still is not a pleasant experience. Last year, my mom got herself a small indoor food recycler and she says buying the recycler is one of the great investments that has changed her life completely. The food recycler breaks down food waste as little as possible converting it to a nutrient rich fertilizer.
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