Jul 13, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not

I read an interesting article in The Oregonian today regarding food waste. Here is some fascinating information from that article:

A new study from the National Institute of Health says that a whopping 40% of what farmers grow ends up in the garbage. That number has increased, too: in 1974, just 30% ended up as food waste. The food we throw out consumes 4% of US oil and more than 25% of our fresh water. It produces methane when it rots in our landfills. The marketing of this excess food helps drive the obesity epidemic. Are we producing too much food? The wrong kind of food? Or do we deliver it to the wrong places? Or is it all three?

The article struck a chord in me. We live in a society of excess that I think we, as tea people, struggle with all the time. Using this as an example, we fight waste in our own homes every day. We overfill our plates and scrape leftovers down the garbage disposal or food spoils in our refrigerators. We, as a society, throw away food at the farm, in retail outlets and in our homes. It wastes money and hurts the environment. The four “Rs” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repair) need to not only be applied to our paper, aluminum and glass but rather ALL of the materials we use in our households.

I challenge you to reduce the amount of food you are throwing away. Cook less, buy only what you and your family will eat or save leftovers for later. Use “normal waste” twice by turning it into yummy soup stock. Feed safe food to your pets or compost waste at home. In the study of tea, we are encouraged to not live life to excess. I encourage you to bring that mind-set into your kitchens.


  1. And just after that post, I saw a news story from a couple in Oregon that only created 75 pieces of trash during an entire year! Check out their blog here: http://greengarbageproject.adammathiasdesign.com/

  2. Great advice and a challenge. I know that I don't always use up what I can and end up throwing away food waste. I do have a kitchen compost and that has reduced the amount of garbage I put in the landfill.