Reducing waste to end food insecurity during a pandemic

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — According to the USDA, roughly 30 to 40 percent of food in the U.S. is spoiled or thrown away rather than eaten. With world hunger on the rise due to the pandemic, the need to reduce food waste is becoming more urgent.

“We want to make sure we’re doing our best to take care of our environment,” said Lindsay Kreill, the garden outreach lead at the Dayton Foodbank. “Part of that is by growing fresh healthy food through our garden. Everything we grow out here is completely chemical-free,” she said.

The Dayton Foodbank reduces its waste by composting.

“We started composting at the foodbank in 2019. We processed upward of 18 million pounds of food every year and although our waste stream is really low, it’s still a large amount of food we send to landfills every year,” Kreill said.

The EPA estimates each year more than 40 million tons of food go to landfills. When it goes untreated, it emits greenhouse gases, like methane, which contributes to climate change.

On the other hand, when food gets composted, it breaks down and turns into an ingredient that can be used for healthy soil.

For $60 a year you can join the Compost Bucket Program to have your scraps composted at the foodbank.

“You’re taking that bucket home, you’re putting in your produce scraps, meat, we can take bones dairy items things that go bad and then we can also take things like coffee grounds, paper towels, napkins,” Kreill said.

The items get loaded into the composter with aged woodchips where it takes about 3 weeks to process. According to the Composting Council, if everyone in the U.S. composted all of their food waste the impact would be equivalent to removing 7.8 million cars from the road.

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