How Reducing Food Waste Also Serves the Purpose of Preventing Disease

By path2positive

Hospitals are always looking for ways to limit waste and improve efficiency. This is why collaboratives such as Global Green and Healthy Hospitals have been created to catalyze and accelerate large-scale changes in the health sector, focusing on waste management. But health care is only one sector out of hundreds aiming to find ways to limit waste. Imagine if we could find a way to reduce significant amounts of waste across sectors, feed the hungry, and make money while doing so? According to a group of Philadelphia researchers, with the help of federal officials and local organizations, focusing on food waste offers great bang for the buck. "Globally one-third of all the food produced gets discarded, a mounting problem for both water use, landfills and climate change," writes Brian Bienkowski from Environmental Health News in the article below. "Keeping food out of landfills is good for the climate too. Rotting food creates methane, a climate warming gas that is 23 times more potent that carbon dioxide. Less food waste also means less wasted water, chemicals and energy that produced it." As we know, climate and health matters are interconnected. Limiting waste, chemicals and energy are ways of working to prevent disease.

Solutions: Feeding People, Creating Jobs With Would-Be Waste in Philadelphia

Environmental Health News

Brian Bienkowski I August 13, 2015

Imagine making thousands of dollars a month for something you’re going to throw away. Oh yeah—and you’d be helping feed hungry people.

Sound good? According to a pilot project in West Philadelphia, it’s entirely possible for grocery stores. And the folks involved are hoping that when the pope visits the City of Brotherly Love next month, they can show the world a new way to deal with the global problem of food waste.

Philadelphia researchers, along with federal officials and local organizations, have been gathering food that would otherwise be wasted from a local supermarket chain, Brown’s Super Stores, to put it to good use. And their numbers suggest it’s working.

They tallied up some numbers from April: 35,000 pounds of produce was gathered from 11 area Brown’s Super Stores; 22,000 pounds was good to eat (most produce on grocery shelves is discarded because of the way it looks or to make room for fresher shipments).

Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania researchers estimated one-third of that load could go directly to food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters, where it would feed the hungry. Philadelphia struggles with a 26 percent poverty rate, more than double the rest of the state.

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