Waste Not, Want Not

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by Natalie Nemeth

Wasting food wastes everything. Water, energy, money, land, labor, and love are all expensive resources needed to produce food, yet in the world’s abundance, there is tremendous waste, with one third of the world’s food is wasted. Shockingly, 40% of food produced in the United States is sent straight to landfills.

California is no exception, contributing about 30 million tons of waste each year to its landfills; of which more than 30% is organic, which could be composted or used to produce renewable energy. Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills has been identified as a significant source of emissions contributing to global climate change. Food waste has to stop. A more imaginative and sustainable food system allows for every human to be justly fed.

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Acting as a vehicle of change, the Resource Management Group, Inc. is a commodities solution company headquartered in San Diego specializing in helping customers reduce their environmental impact by closing the “Grave to Cradle” loop to create a circular economy, with the philosophy of “Recycle First, Landfill Last.”

This year, San Diego has announced a formal launch of massive education and outreach efforts to prepare the county for California’s new recycling law. The mandatory commercial organics recycling law (AB 1826) was signed in 2014 to help achieve California’s aggressive recycling and greenhouse gas emission goals. Beginning in 2016, San Diego set a standard that public entities like schools, hospitals, stores, restaurants, industrial businesses, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, residential units with 5 or more units, and others must recycle their organic waste with full implementation to be realized in 2019. 

RMG offers the only sanitized solution to food waste diversion designed to help businesses comply with (AB) 1826 and recycle the food received according to the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy – focusing on partnering with local food recovery non-profits and local farms to provide nutrient rich animal feed. Wanting to maintain the integrity of working locally, RMG only distributes their compost to two facilities, a non-profit hog farm in Escondido and AgriService, Inc. in Oceanside. Any additional material is composted into high-quality soil, providing a base for strong plants to capture CO2 from the atmosphere. Working together, everyone from all levels of life can positively contribute to creating a circular economy, ensuring commitment to a more sustainable future.

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Change is necessary within all levels of society; from individual through corporate levels to help curate a more sustainable food culture.  Value, integrity, ingenuity and dignity must return to the food value chain. There must be a reduction in food waste, a transformation of unavoidable food waste, turning it into valuable products and active engagement with industry and consumers to change habits and behavior.  

There are ways we can ignite and fuel the fire of change. By remembering simple tricks to find the best life for food, together we can divert massive amounts of food waste. Easy methods include simply eating, storing, sharing and freezing food! When you eat your food, did you think of the most creative way to use all your ingredients? Or even make a checklist before going to the market to prevent buying a surplus of ingredients?

When storing your food, keep all your food labeled and in airtight containers to delay waste of food and to visually remind you of what food you have! Share your food or even make leftovers! If you have excess food, why not share it, whether it be at work, school or home – be a friend.

If you find your food is reaching the end of its shelf life, or you have excess amounts of food, why not freeze it? These are all simple and easy ways to extend the life of food and prevent generation of food waste. Pass these tricks on to help make a circular flow of food!   

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So…will you make the promise?