Rethink FOOD Waste in Landfills

By Jody Howe

CEC Energy Specialist

Love your planet, eat your food.   Wasting food is wasting money. Did you know an estimated 26 percent of waste in our landfill is FOOD waste? Food waste equals 40 percent in America. We can do better than that.   I am tired of seeing bits of left overs hanging out in my refrigerator only to find their final resting in my garbage.  I look forward to learning how to reduce waste and saving more money!

Did you know the average household creates 1 ton of food waste every 3 years? This is 700 pounds per year of nutrient rich compostable matter.  The Environmental Center of Bend has a program which can help you figure out how much food is going to waste in your home.  Join the challenge from May 14  – June 10,.  If you live in Deschutes County, sign up soon here, participate at least three out of four weeks.  There are lots of prizes including two grand prizes!

You may have heard our landfill is almost full. The cost of expansion estimated at $25M to taxpayers.  Central Oregon is growing. The new restriction on recycling plastics and other products from the United States by China will escalate the growth in our landfill at a much higher rate.  Now is the time to reduce waste that is at our fingertips. If you are a farmer or a gardener who composts, thank you. If you have problems with rodents (like mice) in your area, you may not want to compost.

From whole apples to full bottles of water being tossed, lunchtime at schools have shown a great deal of food waste. I personally organized a campaign at my daughter’s elementary school where we charted waste for one week. By the end of the week, we had a major change in garbage content with an understanding of what could be composted or recycled.

There are better places and opportunities to dispose of food waste, or eliminate waste completely. I hope for our future that a green bin food waste will become a common part of residential recycling. It could support our farmers, build our soil, create energy, and reduce 26 percent of waste in our landfill. We can keep food out of our landfills and save money.