In an effort to combat food waste, Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) is launching an initiative funded by the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh to empower individuals to EAT WELL, SAVE MONEY and WASTE LESS by implementing easy, practical, and strategic methods for preventing and reducing food waste. The U.S. EPA reports that wasted food accounts for the largest portion of American trash by weight – more than 66 million tons a year – and once wasted food reaches landfills, it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Individual households generate approximately 40% of discarded food.
“We must address food waste. It is not only an enormous environmental problem but also an important social issue with one in 11 Pennsylvania residents currently experiencing food insecurity,” according to PRC Executive Director Darren Spielman. “Tremendous resources – such as land, water, energy and labor – go into growing, storing, processing, distributing, and preparing food, and it is all squandered when food never reaches the table.”
Simple strategies such as planning meals, freezing food before it spoils, eating leftovers, donating excess catered meals and making shopping lists can result in a significant reduction of the amount of food tossed each year. “Our motto for this educational campaign is simply “We can stop food waste one decision at a time” because although it’s a huge global problem, we each can take action every day to stem the tide,” according to PRC Deputy Director Sarah Alessio Shea. “Many small actions can add up to make one big impact. People can eat well, save money and waste less, and our campaign provides a wealth of resources and guidance to point them in the right direction.”
PRC’s “Stop Food Waste” content via website and social media provides hands-on strategy for meal planning, food donations and storage. Special topics include ideas for enjoying the “inedible” parts of fruits and vegetables – such as peels and rinds – and adapting principles to thrive in a college dorm setting. “The first step is to begin noticing how you currently handle food, from what you purchase to what you toss, and then to develop a strategy to address a few large areas for improvement,” says Shea. “You’ll be surprised how easily a little planning, a few new tools and a fresh outlook can set you on the path to reducing the volume of food you waste. PRC is eager to show you how.”