Food for Thought: How Composting Saves Our Environment One Banana Peel at a Time
By: Teagan Smith
Nearly 40% of all food in America is wasted (Feeding America). Food waste happens at every avenue in our food cycle: in production, processing, distribution, sale, and in your own kitchens. At the end of food’s life, what we do with spoiled or rotten food that can’t be consumed can make a big difference in the health of our environment.
The USDA, in a partnership with the EPA, created a visual representation of the hierarchy of reducing food waste (EPA). Of course, the best method is to reduce food waste at its source. This aims to reduce production down to only what people can consume so that surplus isn’t wasted before it even reaches the consumer. However, how can we as individuals tell industrial agriculturalists to reduce their production? This isn’t hierarchy isn’t always feasible for the individual. The difference we can make as individuals comes when you get down to the bottom of the food chain, something everyone can do in their kitchen to reduce their food waste: compost.
It has been proven that approximately 28% of all waste sent to landfills could be composted (Indiana University). This poses a disastrous problem, as decomposing waste in landfills creates methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gasses, at a much higher rate than if the waste was composted. Our food waste is also taking much longer to decompose in landfills without the help from the heat, microorganisms, and specific mix of nutrients that compost typically contains. This means that landfills are growing from food waste, creating increased leaching of harmful chemicals, oils, and dangerous pollutants.
At Anabel’s, we are proud supporters of the Cornell Compost Club, a student club founded in 2019 dedicated to supporting composting efforts on Campus. Next time you visit the store, look for our compost bin to the right of the entrance. Our goal is to create a circular economy within the store: you purchase food, cook with it, eat as much as you can, and then store the food scraps or waste you produced and bring it back into the store the next time you come in to buy food for dinner. This way, the waste you produce will continue to support our sustainable efforts at Anabel’s, reducing both ours and your carbon footprint.
For more information or to see where the drop-off spots are on campus for home or dorm composting, visit Cornell Compost Club. You can also follow them on instagram to keep up to date with their initiatives @cornellcompost.
(Drawn Images From Cornell Compost)