Picture this: A restaurant cooks a fish and throws the tail in the garbage; an employee eats an apple and throws the core in the trash. These are everyday occurrences, happening countless times across the country. But that fish tail and apple core that made their way to the trash can warrant a closer look.
The contents of those trash cans will most likely end their journey in a landfill, where the cost of admission is determined by the weight of the material being disposed. Food waste is one of the most common—and heaviest—materials entering landfills; it is therefore also one of the most expensive.
The expense of throwing away food continues. The total monetary value of the 33 million tons of food that is thrown away each year is a striking $165 billion USD. That equates to roughly 40 percent of the domestic food market. In more familiar terms, that number represents an average cost of $589.76 annually for a family of four.
Luckily, in many markets, there are alternative outlets for disposing of food waste. In fact, many regions are beginning to not only incentivize alternative methods of food waste disposal, but legally mandate it. Both the State of California and the City of Seattle have implemented policies that mandate dedicated food waste disposal, as well as penalize a lack of it. Additionally, the federal government has followed suit and, just this week, announced its first ever national food waste reduction goal. Determined by the USDA and EPA, the hope is that by 2030, more than 50 percent less food will end up in landfills.
The proper disposal of food waste and implementing zero waste initiatives has the potential to reap great financial and environmental savings for businesses. It is also quickly becoming a telltale of good business practices and environmental stewardship for consumers.
Check out our webinar, Feeding the Bottom Line: Food Waste 101, to learn how food waste disposal is evolving and how it can benefit your business. Or if you have food waste questions, tweet them using #EcovaWebinar and we will add them to our live Q&A session.