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The Food Waste Issue, and Potential Solutions

Approximately 40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste. In an average American household of four, roughly $2000 is wasted on food in one year. Restaurants are big food wasters, as one study shows that a single restaurant throws out about 150,000 pounds of food in a year. Yet one in six Americans (53 million) struggle with hunger. Even though the two issues stated may appear to contradict each other, there are potential solutions to resolve the issues. One such solution to addressing food waste is to educate the general public about the amount of food they waste so they will be more informed about their food purchasing. Another potential answer to food wastage is to compost and recycle the food. Food waste is an issue that must be solved immediately. 

A lack of food intake is quite harmful to the human body. Not eating enough food can lead to increased fatigue, constipation, and high blood pressure. Fatigue can damage the body because the immune system weakens, exposing your body to diseases and infections. Colorectal cancer can be a result of constipation. Finally, high blood pressure can cause kidney disease, a stroke, or even heart failure. Again, fatigue can impair physical as well as mental traits in humans. Feelings of anxiety, irritability, and even depression can be brought out due to not having enough food. Malnutrition, or not eating enough vitamins and minerals, is directly linked to starvation and is the root for other dangerous conditions. An absence of Vitamin A leads to early childhood blindness and increases the severity of infections and anaemia. In addition, zinc deficiency affects children’s health and physical growth. Wasting food negatively impacts the health of others. 

As well as hurting people physically, food waste has a negative financial impact in the American home. Americans altogether waste roughly $165 billion a year on food that is thrown away. At restaurants, diners leave about 17% of their food uneaten. A good amount of food and money is lost because of the leftover food in restaurants, which could have been used for another meal or actually eaten by a consumer instead of being thrown out. In addition, as mentioned before, an average American household of four wastes approximately $2000 a year on uneaten food. In light of the fact that there are 124 million households in the United States, $2000 per household is a significant amount of cash squandered. These figures are staggeringly huge blows to the economy of the United States, considering one in seven Americans, or 46.5 million people, are currently using food banks to obtain three meals a day. The $2000 could be used more effectively in a different area of the economy, perhaps in a way to assist the 13% of Americans families that are in poverty. They cannot afford to lose any money or waste necessities. The nation’s population is projected to grow from 296 million people to a staggering 438 million people by 2050. With many more mouths to feed, America cannot afford to dispose of food that could have been eaten by the hungry. A form of compromise or a solution to fix the food waste issue is a pressing need for America, or the country will continue to waste food and money, which could be used in a different, more efficient way to tend to other gaping issues at stake. 

With many food waste related issues at hand, there are a handful of solutions that could lessen the problem. One such solution is to compost and recycle food. Composting is the natural process of decomposition of material. The broken down food gets turned into a rich soil that is known as compost. Food waste is unique as a compost agent, because it has high moisture content and low physical structure. Add in a bulking agent, such as sawdust, and the combination creates a magnificent soil for planting. The composted soil is much better than average soil, because the organic matter that is in the composted soil from the recycled food is better for the growing plants. Another alternative to solving the food waste issue is to have restaurants price dishes differently per size: small, medium, and large. Customers will pay according to how much they order, paying less for the small dishes, and extra for the large dishes. Also, when customers ask to order the regular or large sized portions, the waiter/waitress that is serving them will mention the smaller sized portions for a discounted price. This change in restaurants will most likely help restaurants save money, because the diners are certain to save money and order the lesser portion of a dish. The government should also think about using tax credits towards restaurants that cut down on food waste. Tax credits reduce the amount of income someone owes to the federal and state government. By using these tax credits for restaurants, the restaurants will most definitely start to advocate limiting food waste in order to gain tax credits. Composting, pricing sizes of dishes differently, and issuing tax credits are possible ways to lessen food waste in America. 

Food waste in America is a significant concern for the country as well as future generations. With an increasing population, and more mouths to feed, a solution to the food waste issue is vital, or else the country will suffer. The solutions listed could be the answer to the problem at stake. 

Dear reader, I now present a challenge to you: find a place where you can limit the amount of food you waste, whether it’s finishing that last few bites of pizza or eating those last few bits of macaroni and cheese. Please, take a step and help fight the food waste issue that will come back to bite America in the near future. 

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