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Ozarks Tonight: Decrease food waste, save money & the environment

Ozarks Tonight

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The City of Springfield Environmental Services says about 12 percent of the material being sent to the landfill is food waste, which is about 31,000 tons of food. 

Ashley Krug, Market Development Coordinator explained why this is an issue and where all of that food is coming from.  

In addition, 40 percent of all food produced in the United State will never get eaten, that’s according to the National Resource Defense Council. 

That’s about 63 million tons of food waste every year and about 400 pounds of food per person. The financial impact of this waste is about $1500 per year for a family of 4.

Laurie Duncan, Education Outreach Coordinator, says those numbers are frustrating because too many people in the U.S. go without anything to eat. 41 million Americans are considered food insecure. In Springfield, that number is about 1 in 6. 

Laurie shared some steps that are easy to implement to avoid and decrease food waste. 

Laurie’s tips: 

  • Buy less food! And you can do this by planning meals carefully! Plan a menu and stick to it. 
  • Avoid “impulse buying”—purchase only the items you’ve listed on your grocery list, then stick to your scheduled meal plan for the week.
  • Use an online planning calculator such as https://savethefood.com/guestimator to help determine how much food you’ll really need for those holiday dinners to avoid leftovers. 
  • Shop your refrigerator first! Before rushing out to buy more food, take inventory of what’s already in the refrigerator, what are the expiration dates, and use existing food first.

Laurie also has suggestions for fighting food waste in our community. 

Sign up for our Dish to Dirt program, where participants attend a workshop to learn about how to do home composting, and receive a home compost bin to implement. Learn more at springfieldmo.gov/homecomposting.

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