Helping people connect with food, nutrition, and agriculture.

Food Waste, Sustainability

Feed People, Not Landfills


Helping to support the future of nutrition and dietetics is important to me so it’s exciting to be able to feature interns’ blogs on my website. This inaugural post comes from Kelly Moynihan, an RDN intern and MBA candidate from Dominican University (River Forest, IL). She has a true passion for nutrition and food waste, which she nicely highlights here. Enjoy her post and follow her on Twitter @moynkell!

Every day we make a choice. This choice will determine how well we focus at work, how much energy we have to stay active, how our bodies develop, and may even bring us closer to family and friends. So what choice is this? It is the choice of food.

It is the foundation of cultures, and the heart of our family traditions. When we throw it away, food waste is the largest source of methane emissions from landfills. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere, and has 25 times the impact of carbon dioxide on climate change.

Food is the largest contributor to municipal landfills in America. About 133 billion pounds of food is wasted every year– enough to fill the Willis Tower in Chicago over 44 times each year. Did you know that when we throw away food, we are also wasting 25% all fresh water used by people to produce it?

With this in mind, it’s important for us to be working towards a solution. This past September, the USDA and EPA set the nation’s first food waste reduction goal: a 50% reduction in food waste by 2050. However, this great nationwide goal won’t be accomplished unless we do our parts, so what can we do at home?

Great news! There are some simple steps that you can try at home, which include:

  • Plan out meals for the week
  • Make a grocery list- and stick to it. (Yes, there are apps for that!)
  • Keep your fridge at the correct temperature to avoid early food spoilage
  • Make an “Eat This First” Box
  • Know what the dates on your food really mean
  • Start composting. Be sure to check to see if there are restrictions in your local area.

compost-419261_640 Pixabay CC0 Free Public Domain

You may be doing a lot of these things already- kudos to you! Take this quiz to find out what next steps you can take in your journey to reduce your food waste.

Share your quiz results or what you’re doing already to reduce food waste in your home with Jean at @JeanRagalieRD.  Use #FoodWaste in your tweet.

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