Smart Party Planning: How to Reduce Waste BEFORE your guests arrive!

By Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

Is one of your goals this year to help reduce waste? Try starting with food waste! According to the USDA, 30-40 percent of food produced in the United States every year goes to waste. This corresponded to about 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010. Wasted food that is sent to landfills quickly generates methane, a greenhouse gas. About 20% of the country’s methane emissions come from landfills. Food waste is definitely a big deal!

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Wasted Food Reduction Across the Hierarchy at UMass Amherst

By Kevin Pink, Marketing & Development Assistant

EPA Food Recovery HierarchyIt’s no secret that wasted food is a big issue in America. According to the USDA, 30- 40% of food produced in this country goes uneaten every year. In 2010, this amounted to 133 billion pounds of food, worth $161 billion. This wasted food doesn’t go to the American households classified as food insecure (12.3% of American households in 2016), but instead often ends up in landfills, where it creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Colleges and universities serve thousands of meals daily, and thus have the potential to produce a significant amount of wasted food. UMass Dining Services is the largest college dining services operation in the nation, serving 45,000 meals daily or 5.5 million meals per year. UMass takes a concerted approach to reducing wasted food along the guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy.

So how is UMass addressing the Food Recovery Hierarchy? Here are a few examples!

Source Reduction: Reduce the volume of surplus food generated.

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When Beauty Standards Apply to Food

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing & High Performance Building EcoFellow

Roughly 133 billion pounds of food is wasted every year in the U.S, and 6 billion of that is produce lost before harvesting or selling. This subset of food waste is attributed primarily to aesthetics, meaning the produce was too small, too large, off-colored, scarred, misshapen, etc.

6 billion pounds may not seem like very much in comparison to all of the food that is lost, but when you consider the resources – water, fertilizer, pesticides, fuel, and space – that are expended on food that is never eaten, it leaves quite the negative impact.

Aesthetic standards prioritize uniformity, targeting the consumers’ narrow view of what their produce should look like, but these images in our heads have little to do with flavor or nutritional value. We have to rethink what our food should look like and embrace their natural peculiarities.

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Nutritious Food Waste: Waste Not, Want Not!

By Shomita Bhattacharya, Program Specialist

According to the USDA, America wastes 30-40% of our food supply every year. In 2010, this totaled 133 billion pounds of food, worth $161 billion! These are large numbers that describe the food waste of the entire nation, but what do they mean in terms of individuals like you and me? The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future analyzed the nutritional composition of wasted food in the United States, and found that on average, the amount of food wasted per person per day in the US is equivalent to:

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5 Ways to Green your Super Bowl Party

By Chiara Favaloro, Marketing Fellow 

1. Watch the game together- Gather a large group of friends to watch the game on one TV, in order to reduce the amount of electricity used while cheering on your favorite team.

2. Carpool to the party- Encourage your guests to carpool to your house to reduce carbon emissions and the amount of cars that have to fit in your driveway!

3. Make your own food- Buy ingredients in bulk and make your own food at home. Pre-made food is often sold in a lot of plastic packaging, especially when served as individual portions.

4. Buy beverages in bulk- Buying large bottles is often less expensive than buying individual cans and saves you the hassle of dealing with recycling all of those empty cans!

5. Don’t throw away leftovers- Distribute them among your guests to take home, donate them to those in need, or compost them.

 

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