Managing Food Waste to Reduce Environmental Pollution
In the current century, environmental pollution contributes to the changes in weather patterns and significant global warming. Human activities are the primary contributors, and it is essential that governments implement suitable measures to reduce their impact on the environment. Research shows that food waste in the United States has increased significantly, and it is responsible for various adverse environmental effects (Neff, Spiker and Truant 2). The food-processing industry of the country generates it at every stage in the process chain: pre- or post-harvesting, manufacturing, packaging, retail, and consumer/household. Managing food waste is, therefore, a significant problem. But there is a limited awareness on how it can benefit the society, and this needs to change. Although it is significantly hazardous and causes adverse impacts on the human health, the proper management of food waste is an efficient solution to reducing community-level environmental pollution.
To start with, food waste can be managed by turning it into compost for home gardens or farms within the region. Research shows that food waste accounts for 40% of a household waste; it usually disposes of in a landfill and becomes harmful to the environment (Neff, Spiker and Truant 6). It then goes through slow decomposition and ultimately releases damaging greenhouse gases, such as nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon monoxide, into the atmosphere. These gases are responsible for global warming. However, food waste can be used to condition the soil more naturally, making gardens rich in nutrients and more water efficient.
To add on, compost from food waste can be sold to farmers in the local community to improve the quality of their soils and consequently their food products. In the recent past, there has been a high demand for organic goods owing to the adverse impacts associated with eating foods grown using inorganic fertilizers (Neff, Spiker and Truant 6). People are increasingly aware of the harmful effects of these chemicals not only on their bodies but also on the environment. As a result, the community could establish a program where people supply food waste to their local farmers and provide them with the manure they require to produce organic products. It could also help in improving the soil quality within the county.
Food waste can also be useful for feeding animals on a farm as it provides a nutritious meal for them thereby ensuring that they thrive and that they provide higher produce for the farmers. This concept reverts to the increased demand for organic foods since people still seek animal products derived from natural farming. Selling food waste could be a source of income for the community as they get to sell their waste, and, in the end, they would purchase healthier organic products. Another useful way of managing food waste is through the introduction of organic bins in different locations within the community. The county government could work towards purchasing these bunkers and putting them in strategic spots, such as outside restaurants and school cafeterias. It could also place boxes in homes to ensure that people effectively separate their garbage and contribute towards improving the quality of the environment within the society. For example, the city of Charles Sturt in South Australia has established a system where citizens get a refund of $20 if they have an organic bin in their household (Neff, Spiker and Truant 9). Such initiatives help the citizens to understand their role in environmental conservation, and they are more committed to improving their quality of life.
An innovative way of managing food waste is through the introduction of worm farms that people can establish in their backyard. It is an efficient way of aerating soils and improving their nutrient content. These farms are easy to install, and several people use them as their source of revenue. They spread food wastes on earth and provide a habitat for worms, which work to add nutrients to the soil. After a while, the worm farm can be transferred to soils with poor nutrient content to improve their productivity. Several farmers sell fertilizers and worms from their farms on the web to help others with their agricultural endeavors. Introducing this innovative approach in the community would go a long way as to improve the soils and reduce pollution by inorganic chemicals.
Ultimately, the goal of proper food management is to reduce the impacts of harmful chemicals on the soil and consequently the environment. Based on the arguments presented, there are different ways in which the local community could manage food waste efficiently to improve soil quality and to reduce environmental pollution. If the society implements these methods, farmers would not have to depend on artificial fertilizers for their produce. They would also reduce the amount of money they spend on managing their farms. The long-term vision is to improve environmental conservation, and the society can only achieve this if it plays its role in reducing its impact on the environment. And it all begins with the proper management of food waste.
Neff, Roni A., Marie L. Spiker, and Patricia L. Truant. “Wasted Food: US Consumers’ Reported Awareness, Attitudes, and Behaviors.” PloS One, vol. 10, no. 6, 2015, pp. 1-15.
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