In American society today, we’re experiencing an overproduction of food. About 30-40 percent of food produced is wasted and ends up in landfills. Why does this matter? Food waste releases methane gas, one of the number one greenhouse gases.

Like most people, I was wondering how this could be possible considering the amount of people we have that are starving and going hungry. There’s also an alarming amount of people, with and without jobs, who are going to food pantries to get food to eat for the week. How can there be an overproduction if there are people, possibly living next to us, who are going hungry?

One thing for sure is that a lot of people can’t afford food. In today’s market, the prices of food are increasing causing more and more people to go hungry. With less people being able to buy food, there is more food waste.

The main problem and source of food waste comes from grocery stores. Grocery stores stock the shelves with the prettiest looking fruits and vegetables, and in turn throw the “ugly” ones out. Grocery stores also use sell by and best by dates to make consumers think they need to throw out items like milk or eggs more often.

Food waste has become such a problem that some places have made it illegal for businesses to throw out food, heavy fines included if you do throw it out.

According to USA Today, by 2030 the United States hopes to cut food waste by at least 50 percent.

With that being said, what can consumers do to make sure that we are not contributing to the problem of food waste?

1- Buy less food. While they might be having a 2-for-1 deal at the grocery store on hamburgers, you should think if you’re really going to use all those hamburgers before they go bad.

2- Donate to food pantries. If there’s food sitting in your freezer or pantry that you know you will not eat, consider donating it to a food pantry. About one in seven Americans rely on food pantries to feed themselves and their families. While you might not be able to do much, every little bit helps.  

3- Try the imperfect produce challenge. Nowadays a lot of grocery stores have imperfect or “ugly” produce for sale at a cheaper price. By buying this, you are ensuring the farmer or grower still gets paid, as well as eliminating food waste.

4- Create a compost bin. While this one may be a little hard for those who live in dorms on campus, this can help reduce the amount of methane gas from landfills. Any food waste, traditionally produce waste, can be used as compost and fertilizer for plants in gardens.

While these are just a few steps that consumers can take to eliminate food waste, any little bit helps. With a majority of consumers taking these small steps, we can get a few steps closer to our goal of 50 percent less food waste by 2030.

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily of The Torch.

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