Ways to Fight Food Waste

1.3 billion tons of food is discarded each year, while an estimated 795 million people are undernourished. “Most European and North American countries already have between 150 and 200 percent of the nutritional requirements of their populations,”

food waste affects far more than our garbage cans, wallets or stores; it squanders our limited resources of water, energy and land. If wasted food were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, consume $2.6 trillion a year, and occupy nearly 30 percent of the planet’s farmable land, according to a report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization

Easy Actions to Reduce Plastic’s Affect on Earth

Plastics are overwhelming our oceans and landfills. Every year, an estimated 19 billion pounds of plastic garbage end up in the sea. In the U.S. alone, approximately 56 billion pounds of plastic are dumped annually in landfills.

But here’s a heartening truth: We can all do something to mitigate this growing plastics crisis. Yes, all. From entrepreneurs and corporations who need to rethink the way plastic products are designed and manufactured; to lawmakers who can push for the protection of fragile environments from plastic pollution; to individuals (that means you) whose seemingly small daily actions can add up to something huge, we all have a role to play. 

In general, less than 7 percent of all the plastic that Americans throw away each year are recycled, and about 8 percent are combusted in waste-to-energy facilities. The rest end up in landfills.

An average American family of four uses more than 1,500 plastic bags every year, according to the NRDC. Each bag is typically only used for about 12 minutes; yet since plastic bags are very rarely recycled, most of them end up in landfills, where they can languish for hundreds of years.

Actions to take for the Environment

Instead of just promoting science and nature conservation, how about getting involved yourself? Scientists need lay people to help collect important data from all around the country. There are a ton of these projects, from tracking horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay to watching urban birds. PBS, National Geographic, and Scientific American have lists of citizen science projects for you to help out in your area.

Join Audubon International’s Green Neighborhood program, read the NRDC’s neighborhood development guide, create a neighborhood repair team, persuade your city to turn defunct industrial sites into green spaces, or follow the small town of Ashton Haye’s example and go carbon-neutral altogether.