Everyone knows that roughly 10% of food produced in the US goes to waste. Most people are aware of this fact, but it can be difficult to visualize just how much wasted food exists when there’s so much still on store shelves and in pantries at home. For example, if you had to guess how many uneaten slices of bread are thrown away every year, how many would you estimate.
The History of Food Recycling
Food recycling isn’t exactly a new idea. Our ancestors used to practice gleaning, in which crops left in fields after harvest was collected by poorer families. This type of activity became common throughout Europe during times of war or drought when there was less access to food and fewer resources available to transport it. Grocery stores also commonly donate their unused products to local shelters, but it wasn’t until recently that organizations began collecting expired items from retailers for redistribution.
The Recycling Process
Food recycling works in a few different ways, but it’s typically broken down into three stages: sorting, processing, and composting. The goal of these steps is to make sure that waste like food doesn’t end up in a landfill which releases methane gas into our atmosphere, but instead can be reused or turned into energy. Sorting: At first glance, you might think garbage separation couldn’t get much simpler than throwing all your recyclables into one bin and some cities even encourage residents to do just that! But if we want to be environmentally conscious about how we handle our trash, sorting out what goes where is a crucial step.
Why Should You Care?
Every year, billions of pounds of wasted food end up in landfills. Now, however, more and more cities are using sophisticated recycling methods to recover resources from that waste and they’re getting some impressive results. While these methods are new, they’re quickly gaining traction around much of North America. So if you don’t want to leave a negative footprint on the environment or if it bothers you to see food rotting in a landfill you might want to pay attention.
When people toss their leftovers into their compost bins, those scraps get mixed with water and other organic materials like coffee grounds and eggshells. Then, after about two weeks, what remains is called black gold it can be used as fertilizer for farms or gardens.
Now that you’ve been inspired to start recycling your food waste, let’s get down to brass tacks. First things first: if you can compost it at home, then don’t worry about taking it out for curbside pickup you’re covered. If not, check with your local municipality to see if they have a program in place. You just need to call ahead of time.
Simple Tips for Reducing Food Waste
Food waste composters are becoming all the rage, they reduce the amount of time it takes to turn food waste into compost. Follow the link and out more about electric composters and how a food recycler works. After all, if your carton of milk goes bad before it hits its expiry date, what’s going to be worse than having wasted that money. With that in mind, make sure to refrigerate items promptly when you get home from grocery shopping; store perishables appropriately and in closed containers; take note of best-before dates organize your fridge, and avoid impulse buys.
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Many grocery stores have a program for donating leftovers to nearby shelters. Usually, an employee will go through what’s leftover from customers at night. These employees are trained in how to handle food safely so that it doesn’t contaminate other foods. They either package up your leftovers and donate them to a nearby shelter or take them home for their family. If your grocery store doesn’t have a program like this, try asking if they can create one it might be just as easy as suggesting it! If all else fails, look into getting an ice chest they’re lightweight, portable storage boxes designed to keep food cold but safe until they reach their destination.
The most commonly recycled items are paper and metal, but many communities will recycle certain types of plastic as well. You can find out which items your community recycles here. If you’re looking to dispose of specific household items, check with your city or town. Many towns have set curbside pickup times for certain materials. Some towns will even pick up larger trash items like furniture, mattresses, or appliances. You can find more information on local recycling options here. For those who just want to know if they can recycle something such as a particular electronics item search for electronics recycling on Google where you’ll be able to find a list of companies that deal in electronics recycling including what is accepted by them for recycling.