Outrageous food waste infuriates ONE Blog readers

Everyone, say hi to our new intern Paulena Papagiannis. She just graduated from Oberlin and will be on our new media team for the spring. This is her first post, so be nice!

African boy eating
In a recent Facebook post, we shared a staggering statistic: Consumers in rich countries dispose of 220 million metric tons of food waste every year, equal to the entire food output of sub-Saharan Africa.

Like the farm ministers and policy makers who gathered last week to discuss this atrocity, our readers were infuriated, calling the waste “shameful” and “despicable” (and those were the nicest words).

Some of you wanted to know what’s being done to right this wrong and what you can do to help. Consider supporting and giving a shout-out to these five waste- and hunger-hating campaigns:

– The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Messe Düsseldorf joined forces last May to combat food loss worldwide. Through their brainchild, SAVE FOOD, the two organizations encourage dialog between industry, politics and research professionals on solutions to the waste problem.

– Stateside, Feeding America organizes a network of more than 200 local food banks, with at least one located in every state. You can donate your leftover food, volunteer your time, or make a donation. Find your nearest food bank here.

– Founded more than 20 years ago, the New York-based Rock and Wrap It Up! Program helps to stock food banks nationwide by collecting leftover prepared goodies from big events and delivering them to nearby charitable distributors. Instead of feeding a landfill, untouched meals from sports games, rock concerts, school cafeterias and political rallies help to feed America’s hungry. And if you make a mess while you snack, have no fear: Rock and Wrap It Up! also picks up unused cleaning supplies from hotels and re-purposes them, too.

– Try to limit your own household’s food waste by taking the Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise Food Recovery Challenge. Do your part by monitoring your throw away habits, reeling in your heavy hand at the grocery store, and donating your unwanted (but preserved) food stuffs to a local food bank.

– For our collegiate readers, consider pressuring your school to adopt best practices in preventing food waste. This could include loosening the grip on your dining hall trays. After nixing their plastic platters, colleges like Skidmore and Williams saw a reduction of waste in their cafeterias.

Let’s work together to finish the food on our plates — and help others fill theirs. And now it’s your turn: What do you do to curb wastefulness? Tell us in the comments below.