Being Mindful of Our Waste and Footprint

Being Mindful of Our Waste and Footprint

By Bing Chen ’17

Photographed by Jasmin Wang’17

France is the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Supermarkets are prohibited from tossing items that are close to the expiration dates, and instead have to be donated to charities and food banks. Stores cannot destroy food as a way to prevent urban foraging. This law will allow the food industry to give their excess products to charities. To reinforce the law, supermarkets are required to sign contracts with charities for food donations, and penalties of not abiding by the law will lead to jail time and steep fines.

The reason that countries like France are taking steps to reduce food waste is due to the environmental impact of food waste. Agriculture swallows up 80% of the freshwater used in the U.S. and 50% of U.S land (Gaunders). Yet Americans are not eating 40% of the food grown. The fuel used to transport and process foods, contributes to global warming as well. France marks the beginning of a changing global view of food waste. Americans should take note of such process and look ahead to incorporating some of their regulations into the law.

According to NationSwell, 40% of food in this country is thrown away. While all that food is being thrown out, 1 in 7 Americans lack reliable access to food (USDA). Organizations and the government have worked to address the food waste problem affecting the world.

Brooklyn Tech has implemented garbage cans specifically for can/bottles, food waste, and trash. The problem is that many students are not aware what designated items go into the varying bins.

Amy Liu ’17 notes, “When I am in a rush, I am not aware of which part of my lunch goes in which bin”.

The school lunch serves vegetables everyday, as part of the Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-free kids Act. However, the picky eaters will not eat the vegetables. Requiring students to eat fruits and vegetables does not increase consumption, but rather increases food waste.
Schools have worked to address the issue. According to the New York Times, 230 public schools in the city are taking part in New York City’s composting program. Schools like P.S. 30 in Staten Island are dumping leftover food into compost bins. New York City’s school composting program kicked off just two years ago by parents in the Upper West Side after programs in cities like Seattle and San Francisco.

It’s also important that people take steps to reduce food waste at home. It can be as easy as rotating the food in the fridge, preventing food from expiring, eating leftovers, and avoiding unnecessary foods. Everyone can make small changes at home, so that they can limit their waste.

Inspirational Quote: “Imagine walking out of a grocery store with four bags of groceries, dropping one in the parking lot, and just not bothering to pick it up. That’s essentially what we’re doing.”-Dana Gunders


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