Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Feeding and Clothing Ourselves Wisely

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Feeding and Clothing Ourselves Wisely

Article excerpt

Americans today throw away a cornucopia of nutritious foods. They also discard used clothing - mountains of it.

The US government and food and clothing retailers are trying to change that.

Huge amounts of water, chemicals, and fuel are needed to produce food and clothing, two staples for every human on the planet. Sending a large percentage of what is produced into landfills wastes valuable resources.

The US Department of Agriculture estimates that 30 to 40 percent of the food produced in the US is not consumed. Acknowledging the problem, the federal government has committed to cut food waste in half by 2030.

Americans also throw away about 12.8 million tons of textiles each year - about 80 pounds for each person, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Many restaurants are looking hard now at how they can reduce food waste, not only because it is the responsible thing to do but because it could save the industry as much as $1.6 billion a year, according to one estimate.

A number of changes are already under way. Some restaurants are offering smaller-sized boxes for take-home leftovers: They've found that diners are reluctant to ask for a large box and leave the food behind if the amount they want to take home is small.

A startup company in Britain called Too Good to Go has developed an app that allows restaurants and bakeries to advertise late-day discount prices on meals or baked goods that would otherwise be thrown away. In a test run in Denmark, the company claims to have already kept 100,000 meals from ending up in landfills.

The creativity of chefs is being tapped, too. Many are now buying blemished or misshaped (but tasty and nutritious) fruits and vegetables - that otherwise might go straight to a landfill - and using them as ingredients in recipes (who needs perfect-looking tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers when you're making gazpacho soup? …

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