Quiz time! When it comes to America’s food waste problem, WWJD?
Would he: A) “Save” that questionable block of cheese, B) Turn wine back into water, or C) Start an interfaith effort to reduce the amount of food headed to the dump?
Who knows? Food waste is a complicated problem. But here’s something that may surprise you: The Environmental Protection Agency is pulling their own version of option C, and it’s called the Food Steward’s Pledge — “an initiative to engage religious groups of all faiths to help redirect the food that ends up in landfills to hungry mouths,” according to NPR.
The EPA’s effort to bring religious zeal to our nation’s food squandering problem is one way to approach its long-term plan to cut food waste in half. NPR reports:
At the consumer level, changing behavior is key, says EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus, and faith-based groups can help make that happen in a variety of ways. For instance, when these organizations hold potlucks, the leftovers can go to the local food bank.
EPA says groups can also work with local grocers, schools, and restaurants to direct food to food banks and shelters that would otherwise be wasted. They can hold seminars for the faithful and the broader local community to teach them how to menu plan and shop their own refrigerators first to avoid buying excess food, and how to compost the leftover scraps.
We’ve all heard the statistic: 40 percent of America’s food is funneled to trash. And even worse, rotting food contributes to the warming of our lovely planet. From NPR:
Food waste is closely tied to another growing concern for many faith-based organizations: climate change, a problem that disproportionately affects the world’s poor. Food waste is the single biggest material in U.S. landfills, according to the U.S. Agricultural Department. As this waste decomposes, it releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
If you haven’t lost your appetite, go ahead and bite into that apple that’s been sitting out on the counter. It might have been a bad idea for Eve, but these days, we’ll support just about anything that helps this trash-heap of a planet stay clean.