The state of the Austin Food System indicates that 1.24 million pounds of food are lost each day.
One of the most important things this report looks at is food waste. Every day, 1.24 million pounds of food goes straight to the trash in Austin.
“This is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Edwin Marty, Austin’s director of food policy.
When this food ends up in landfills, it generates methane, the most powerful greenhouse gas.
The report stated that “food decomposing in landfills is responsible for about 2% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in our society.”
One of the main reasons so much food ends up in landfills is that grocery stores and restaurants get rid of it when it’s not sold, or is close to its “best by” date.
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“It’s going to be like a bag of oranges where you get an orange rotting in the whole bag, and the rest of the orange is just fine,” said Linda Bardeen, CEO of Keep Austin Fed. “Well, the grocery store pulls that off the shelves because no one’s going to pick it up.”
Keep Austin Fed is an organization that hopes to give new life to these still-good foods. They have partnerships with various restaurants and grocery stores, Barden said. They pick up all the still good food that would have gone to the trash on a weekly basis.
“One of the restaurants we work with, they cut that tip on the end of the tenderloin,” she added. “And these are like ugly cuts of meat. But they’re still delicious. So they take all these tips, put them in a bag, and freeze them for us.”
Keep Austin Fade then sorts out the donated food and gives it to those in need.
Last year alone, they managed to collect more than 800,000 pounds of food.
For foods that cannot be restored, composting is a great option. In fact, the city of Austin encourages composting by offering a composting kit to all curbside customers.
The program collects leftovers, yard trim, food-contaminated paper, and natural fibers, and turns it into nutrient-rich compost. For more information on fertilizing click here.
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