Most people do not realize how much food they throw away everyday from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce, or the impact it has to our environment. When landfilled, organic waste—materials such as leaves, grass, agricultural crop residues and food scraps—generates methane, which has a heat-trapping effect about 80 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeline. Reducing methane emissions within 20 years is necessary to avert the worse impacts of climate change.
The good news is that organics are readily recyclable into soil amendments like compost, into mulch and liquid fertilizers, and also into biofuel, a renewable natural gas. This is already happening across California, but because organics is such a large portion of our waste stream (about a third), we need to do more. Food waste alone accounts for about 18 percent of landfill disposal, and we can reduce that percentage by increasing food waste prevention and edible food rescue. California law Senate Bill 1383 targets a 50 percent reduction in the landfilling of organic waste in 2022. By 2025, that reduction target is 75 percent.
Here are some helpful tips that you can do to reduce food waste:
- Prepare perishable foods soon after shopping. Take time to wash, and place your food items in clear storage containers.
- Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat to reduce the risk of spoiling.
- Prepare and freeze meals ahead of time.
- Set up a home compost system.
- Shop in your cupboard/kitchen before going to the store.
- Use a shopping list.
- Donate perishables to a shelter or food bank.
For more information, please visit CalRecycle at: https://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/nav/organics
Let's Feed People Not Landfills!