The World Wastes Tons of Food. A Grocery ‘Happy Hour’ Is One Answer. NY Times

Here’s a simple thing that all of us, myself included, can do to slow global warming. The article points out that food waste, the excess food that groceries and restaurants dump, along with the food that you and I throw out because it never got used in our fridges, is another significant cause of global warming. Why? Because all of it had used fossil fuel to plant, harvest and transport, and then, after it was near or after its’ use by date, was transported from the store to either a food bank, or landfill where it was composted, both using fossil fuel to do that job, and by the methane generated by it rotting in the landfill.

I’ve gone to using my bike to make much more frequent trips to the grocery store, or combining those trips with other trips. I buy in much smaller amounts, such as a quart rather than a gallon of milk. I rotate my vegetables and check the drawer daily. I’ve gone to buying less fruits and veggies at the market, more 1 at a time, rather than three or four that might sit and go to waste.

Here in Port Townsend, I know that the food bank works with NW Harvest and the local groceries to do their best to work excess food into the hands of those that need it and are not able to afford it.

Our refrigerators are geared towards waste. Very few of us really need the size of refrigerator that we have, but unless you design your kitchen yourself, all standard kitchens use about the same size large refridgerators. This is not true in Europe. And not having a standard refrigerator affects your house’s resell value. It’s all of a piece, that we are designing our way to a warming planet.

While a freezer does help reduce waste by prolonging the foods use by date, it also contributes to global warming itself.

The best we can do is to think through our food use. Slow the buying habit. As a challenge, try to buy your food the day you plan to eat it.

And perhaps discuss this with your local grocers. They want your business! It’s a low margin business.

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