This week I ordered my first box of imperfect produce. With the daunting statistic that a third of produce goes to waste, I thought ordering imperfect produce was one way to address this problem in my personal life. However, after reading Jenny Splitter's article "What The Ugly Produce Debate Gets Wrong And What It Gets Right" I don't know anymore.
Another reason I wanted to get my produce delivered was because I thought huh less plastic consumed than at the grocery store, but the produce came in a box with an icepack and a plastic #4 wrapper, so I'm not sure if I saved any plastic.
The point that I learned from the article mentioned is that most of the food "waste" does not happen in the farmers --> grocery stores step, but afterwards with the consumer.
This made me wonder, what could be the solution to food waste (and hunger) then?
I started thinking about a similar "hip" program to imperfect foods, but with compost. A "study reports that 72 percent of Americans don't compost at home, but 67 would be willing to do so if it was easier" so if there was some sort of easy delivery service that bought your compost or something, less food scraps would go to landfill.
But this still doesn't solve the problem of people throwing away edible food, not just food scraps. How do we prevent food waste?
I've noticed people enjoy buying more food than they need, but why?
I've also noticed that during the pandemic, it's become increasingly difficult to do things that require sharing/ dealing with other's waste. Apparently imperfect is typically willing to accept your returned boxes and ice packs, but not during these times. Something positive about imperfect is that it does bring waste into consciousness. Produce begins to feel more precious and it heightens awareness of what gets thrown away.
I do believe there is something about American culture that facilitates food waste. In lots of other countries, people buy their necessities for the next few days, in the US people try to buy groceries for the next few weeks, and produce most of the time simply doesn't last that long. I feel that most environmental problems can be solved with a shift in culture and public opinion.
How can we inspire people to only buy what they need and what they don't need can go to food banks and such?