Posts Tagged ‘landfills’

Food Waste/Food Loss/Solutions – Part 2

 

Food Loss

Food loss occurs during the production, post harvest and processing of food. I was shocked to learn that in California’s Salinas Valley where so much of our produce is grown, improperly filled, labeled, sealed or damaged food containers are thrown into the landfill, even though the food itself is fine. According to the National Geographic article, One Third of Food is Lost or Wasted: What Can Be Done?, “Between April and November, the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority landfills between four and eight million pounds of vegetables fresh from the fields. And that’s just one transfer station out of the many that serve California’s agricultural valleys.”

In developing nations, often without adequate food storage facilities and transportation, food loss is even greater. The National Geographic article states that in Africa, they lose 10 to 20 percent of the continent’s sub-Saharan grains, which is about four billion dollars’ worth of food or enough to feed 48 million people for a year. India loses an estimated 35 to 40 percent of its fruits and vegetables. Similar loss exists in other developing nations.

Solutions

When you think about all the hungry people in the world, these facts are all the more shocking, but governmental agencies,  environmental and service organizations are working to solve this staggering problem. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance for one is working with supermarket chains to reduce waste by clarifying expiration dates, donating more food and making changes in manufacturing processes to reduce the amount of wasted food.  These groups also work with large restaurant chains to reduce portion size; many small restaurants already offer small and large portions. Orchardists are working with juice companies and packers to develop more secondary markets for ugly or less-than-perfect fruit. One group called The Pig Idea is pressing the EU to allow feeding food waste to swine and other livestock.

These are good solutions, but as with most problems, the best solution is to prevent food waste and food loss in the first place.

Information compiled from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/One-Third of Food Is Lost or Wasted: What Can Be Done and http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/26/us/food-waste-is-becoming-serious-economic-and-environmental-issue-report-says.html?mabReward=A4&action=clic

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Too Much Plastic!

I recently came across a blog called Plastic-Free Guide.  The author Beth Terry lists every possible way to reduce plastic usage in your life.  In fact, there are 95 clever suggestions!

Her top two ways to reduce plastic usage you are hopefully already doing – bringing reusable bags and totes to the store with you (and that includes all stores, not just grocery stores!) and drinking from reusable water bottles, preferably a stainless steel one.

Beth conveniently categorizes her other suggestions for easy reading, the most doable ones I have listed below.

  • Plastic-free Grocery Shopping

Shop from local farmers markets; buy from bulk bins when possible; eat whole fruit instead of buying sodas, fruit juices and other plastic- bottled beverages; buy fresh bread or bread wrapped in paper; buy milk in   returnable glass bottles; stop buying frozen convenience foods.

·      Plastic-Free Eating and Drinking on the Go

Carry your own containers for take out food and leftovers; carry a stainless steel travel mug or water bottle; carry reusable utensils and glass drinking straws.

·      Plastic-Free Lunches at School or Work

Choose glass/stainless steel food storage containers; store foods without freezing; avoid non-stick cookware; choose stainless steel ice-cube trays.

·      Learn to Make It From Scratch

Make your own soy or almond milk, condiments or snacks.

·      No More Plastic Trash Bags

Compost food waste.

·      Switch to Natural, Plastic-Free Household Cleaning Techniques

Clean with vinegar, baking soda and water; use powdered dishwasher detergent in a cardboard box; use natural cleaning cloths and scrubbers; wash laundry with soapnuts or laundry powders without a plastic scoop.

·      Personal Care

Use bar soap instead of liquid hand soap; give up shampoo in plastic bottles; use soap instead of canned shave cream; choose lotions and lip balms in plastic-free containers; choose toilet paper that’s not wrapped in plastic.

·      Travel

Bring your own water bottle or travel mug— even on the plane; bring your own snacks; don’t forget your headphones.

·      Plastic-Free Pet Care

Avoid plastic bowls; choose pet toys/furniture made from natural materials instead of plastic.

·      Get it Fixed!

·      Buy it Used!

  • Say No to Plastic Packing Material

Request zero plastic packaging when ordering online. (I love this one!)

·      Reduce Plastic in the Office

Avoid disposable plastic pens.

·      Plastic-Free Entertainment/Electronics

Look for secondhand electronics, games, and toys first; take care of what you have already; avoid buying CDs and DVDs.

·      No New Plastic Clothing

Choose natural fibers; shop thrift stores.

  • Avoid the worst plastics: Polyvinyl Chloride (#3 PVC), Polystyrene (#6 PS), & Polycarbonate (#7 other)

They  cause a host of environmental problems and can be toxic to the brain and nervous system.

Plastic is in practically everything! It’s impossible to eliminate it entirely from our lives, but Beth’s blog certainly makes us aware of our overuse and over dependence on it. Plastic has definitely made our lives more convenient, but at what cost?  I wonder given the harmful effects from the manufacture of and constant exposure to plastic; given that so much of it ends up in our oceans and landfills; and given that most of it is not biodegradable, why chemists aren’t coming up with more green plastic.  It’s time we demand it.

I encourage you to visit www.plasticfreeguide.com, read her tips, and take her plastic trash challenge.

For more green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com. 

 

Information compiled from http://www.plasticfreeguide.com.