An Untapped Resource: Food “Waste”

Every year, thousands of tons of food enter the waste stream and must be shipped out of Humboldt County — instead of being used towards its intended function (to feed people), as evidenced by food insecure families in the area. There are environmental impacts as well. Producing food consumes water, another vital resource, and estimates show that more than one-quarter of water use is allocated towards food that is ultimately wasted. Aside from water, wasted food accounts for 300 million barrels of oil per year, or approximately 4% of U.S. consumption. In addition, food waste produces methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, as it decomposes in landfills.

by Melissa Jones, Esq., Health Policy Analyst

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