Making food go further through waste reduction and innovation: King County Washington Food Waste Report

Source: KingCountygreen.com, June 25

Americans waste about 25 percent of all food and drinks we buy, to the tune of $130 every single month. It’s a growing problem with significant financial and environmental impacts. In 2017, 175,470 tons of commercially collected food waste from businesses and residents entered King County’s Cedar Hills Regional Landfill.

When we throw away food, we also waste all the nutrients, water, energy and fuel used to produce, package and transport food from the farm to our plates. Uneaten food accounts for 23 percent of all methane emissions in the U.S. – a potent contributor to climate change.

Reducing food waste is a key strategy identified by the King County Local Food Initiative. The County’s target is decreasing the amount of wholesome food loss by 25 percent in the next 10 years.

The targets identified in the Reduce Food Waste effort is to redirect healthy food away from disposal to consumption so the resources it took to produce, transport, and consume food are not wasted.

Organizations across King County are taking several actions to reduce food waste, including education and food recovery. Since 82 percent of food waste comes from homes and consumer-facing businesses, many projects focus on waste reduction practices to prevent waste from entering landfills in the first place.

While reducing the volume of surplus food generated is the first priority, keeping waste out of landfills is the ultimate goal. Providing alternative uses for existing waste, including fuels and fertilizers, can achieve this purpose.

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