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Environment

How One Company Is Making Food From Food Waste

September 28, 2020
food waste

In the United States, 30%-40% of the food produced goes to waste each year. Of this, 31% is lost at retail and consumer levels. Meanwhile, families are going hungry around the world.

Learn how one company is upcycling food from waste, and how you can be part of the sustainable revolution.

What Classifies as Food Waste?

Any decrease in the quantity or quality of food due to decisions or actions of consumers, retailers and foodservice providers would be considered food waste.

Food waste includes:

  • Discarded parts of produce
  • Spoilage when products expire
  • Surplus of items that are never purchased
  • Wasted supplies from the production process
  • Throwing out leftovers at dining establishments

How Can Waste Be Upcycled?

Upcycled foods use ingredients that would not have been consumed by humans otherwise. The food is procured and produced through verifiable supply chains. These items positively impact the environment by creating food products using nutrients that would typically fall through the gaps in the system.

Consumers can purchase upcycled foods as a way to help eliminate waste. Solutions, like upcycling, increase the amount of food available to be eaten while also creating value from products that would have been thrown out.

Why Is It Important?

Of the food we throw away, 94% ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. The energy and money expended in the production process are lost when edible materials are discarded.

There are many ways to convert traditional food waste into something more valuable. Examples include upcycled food, animal feed and energy production.

It has the potential to be a renewable energy source that would provide long-term economic and environmental benefits. Food waste can be transformed into methane gas, which powers generators. This method can produce enough electricity to power eight to 10 houses using 1 ton of food waste. This means a single person’s annual food waste in North America could power a 100-watt lightbulb for two weeks.

When you consider the long-term potential of transformative processes, food waste suddenly becomes a hot commodity.

How Is the Upcycled Food Association Making a Difference?

Upcycled Food Association (UFA), created in 2019, is a nonprofit focused on growing the upcycled economy and reducing food waste. The association has recognized the importance of collaborating to establish a movement and build a successful food category.

UFA consists of members from around the globe, and they are accomplishing their goals through networking, researching, strategizing and advocating policies to elevate the food network to its greatest potential. The association has standardized the definition for upcycling, which has strengthened the trend, united businesses and created the first step in establishing supportive legislation.

UFA is building a community and helping companies demonstrate their contribution to food waste reduction.

These three groups benefit from upcycled foods:

  • Consumers: They enjoy nutritious new products and feel good that they are part of the food waste reduction movement.
  • Food businesses: They create new dishes using ingredients that traditionally go to waste while also acting socially responsible.
  • Producers: They sell at higher prices because more of what they grow and make goes toward feeding people.

What Can You Do to Help Reduce Food Waste?

Everyone has a role to play in the mission to reduce food loss. You can make changes at home, act as a leader in your community and encourage businesses to change their practices.

In Your Home

Make conscious decisions to reduce your contribution to global food waste. Begin by only buying what you need and preparing if before the expiration date. Eat leftovers, rather than making new meals each day. Spend some time getting creative with ingredients and strive to use every part of the product. For example, if you purchase a whole chicken, you can eat the meat and use the carcass to make homemade chicken broth.

Remember to store ingredients so they remain fresh, and freeze any excess to ensure supplies last. Also, you can transform inedible ingredients into animal feed or compost.

In the Community

You can donate extra food to hunger-relief organizations or host a food drive within your community. Use food sharing apps to connect with locals to trade fresh meals and ingredients. Think about it like you’re asking your neighbor if they had fresh eggs, but on a larger scale. Likewise, you can share excess food with other people informally.

Research whether any businesses sell their products at a reduced cost at the end of the day. Swoop in and get incredible savings, all while saving products from the landfill.

In the Workplace

Talk with your co-workers about what you’ve learned concerning sustainable purchasing. Share the facts relating to worldwide hunger and food loss. Encourage managers to order efficiently for company events and package leftovers for everyone to take home.

Check out whether your company offers a donation match for nonprofits or time off for volunteering. Support businesses that make a difference, and ask others in your social network to do the same. The more you share, the more you educate those around you.

Food Waste Begone

Have you heard of turning trash into treasure? These opportunities to reduce leftovers and transform them into new products are a perfect example. What would usually be discarded will have a second life —benefiting producers, businesses, consumers and the environment.

Environment

What Exactly Are Plastic Bags Made Of?

September 14, 2020
what are plastic bags made of

They’re everywhere. People use them for almost any task that requires a bag. You probably even have a collection inside a random kitchen cabinet. However, do you know which processes and components make up plastic bags? Although many consumers aren’t aware, it’s essential to learn about plastic’s detrimental side effects.

What are plastic bags made of? Let’s take a look at the past and future of their production.

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Environment

The Importance of a Regenerative Food System

September 11, 2020
regenerative food

To grow food, we need soil. Even with modern technology enabling systems like hydroponics to grow crops, humanity needs soil to produce enough food for the global population. Unfortunately, many modern farming techniques have destroyed soil or depleted it. One sobering report warns that all topsoil could be gone in the next 60 years if agriculture continues as normal.

A regenerative food system focuses on feeding humanity without depleting the Earth. It is a holistic systems approach, stressing the importance of finding solutions that address problems collectively.

There is no single definition of regenerative agriculture, but most people agree that regenerative farming includes things such as no-till farming, cover crops, perennial and native plants, integrated livestock and crop diversity. Building a regenerative food system is vital to feeding humanity while also repairing damaged ecosystems. In the face of climate change, a regenerative food system will create resiliency by localizing economies, sequestering carbon and building greater food security.

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Environment

Are Hydroponics Healthy Compared to Regular Crops?

September 9, 2020
are hydroponics healthy

Hydroponically grown lettuce has claimed a spot next to the organic variety in the grocery store, causing consumers to wonder which is healthier. When comparing hydroponic produce to regular soil-grown crops, it depends. Numerous scientific studies have reached varying conclusions, some showing hydroponic tomatoes have more vitamin C and others concluding they are lower in antioxidants. 

Are hydroponics healthy? While the jury is still out, there are a few factors that can help consumers decide which growing type they prefer. Whether hydroponics or regular crops are healthier remains inconclusive, but there are ways to determine which growing method contributes to the overall health of the plant. By identifying the factors outlined below, we can compare the health benefits of hydroponics to those of conventional produce.

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Environment

Aeroponics vs. Hydroponics: Is One Better for the Planet?

September 7, 2020
aeroponics vs hydroponics

Hydroponics and aeroponics are both examples of soil-less growing methods and require cultivating crops in a climate-controlled environment. Hydroponics requires a growing medium, such as perlite, coconut husks or gravel, and deliver a nutrient solution to crops through water. Aeroponics, which is sometimes considered a type of hydroponics, cultivates plants without a growing medium. Most operations suspend them from a tray and use a spray mister to deliver nutrients. 

Both growing methods have gathered attention as climate-friendly alternatives to soil-grown crops. Is one better for the planet than the other, though? When comparing aeroponics vs. hydroponics, it’s hard to say. Both are incredibly water efficient, require less space than traditional agriculture and tend to use fewer chemicals. However, there are minor differences that can significantly affect their carbon footprint. 

Here are just a few factors to consider when comparing aeroponics vs. hydroponics.

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Environment

The Pros and Cons of Aeroponics

September 4, 2020
pros and cons of aeroponics

A crop that uses an aeroponic method relies on mist and air to grow rather than soil. It’s an inventive way to avoid aggregates that traditional agriculture methods require. Each plant receives nutrient-rich moisture through a spritz to its roots. This practice allows growers to create a flexible, mobile garden wherever they please.

Do you want to learn more about this eco-friendly alternative? Take a look at the pros and cons of aeroponics.

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Environment

Top Pros and Cons of Aquaponics

September 2, 2020
pros and cons of aquaponics

Aquaponics is a hydroponics system that utilizes aquaculture to grow plants. Aquaculture, also known as fish farming, allows farmers to breed and harvest both fresh and saltwater species with controlled conditions. In aquaponic systems, fish waste is converted into nutrients for vegetables using bacteria. The entire process is environmentally friendly, saves water and creates no waste.

However, despite the many benefits of aquaponics, there are some drawbacks to this type of farming. For example, water quality must be regularly checked, as any pollution can cause serious problems for the entire fish or shellfish population. Secondly, the initial set-up costs of an aquaponics system can be cost-prohibitive for many small-scale growers. Despite these negatives, aquaponics remains a sustainable option for growing food in the face of climate change. Here are the top pros and cons of aquaponics.

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Environment

10 Environmental Benefits of Hydroponics

August 31, 2020
environmental benefits of hydroponics

Did you know there’s more than one way to grow plants? The traditional agriculture method calls for soil, water and sun — but it’s possible to cultivate a garden without that first component. A hydroponic crop doesn’t use land to supply plants with their nutrients. Instead, it feeds them with nutrient-enriched water through their roots. As a result, it’s more sustainable than popular conventional techniques. Here are 10 environmental benefits of hydroponics.

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Environment

What Are the Pros and Cons of Hydroponics?

August 28, 2020
pros and cons of hydroponics

Hydroponics is a type of aquaculture that uses nutrients and water to grow plants without soil. It is an increasingly popular growing method in urban areas and regions with extreme climates. There are many benefits to hydroponics as an alternative form of agriculture, including fewer chemicals, higher yields and greater water efficiency. 

However, hydroponics is not a perfect solution. The initial setup is expensive, and the whole growing system is heavily dependent on access to electricity and a clean water source. Here are just a few pros and cons of hydroponics.

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Environment

10 Eco-Friendly Pest Management Strategies

August 21, 2020
eco friendly pest management

A sustainable home garden can be an enjoyable and educational way to connect with nature. You’ll learn about several different green topics, like how to compost food scraps and save various seeds. There’s a downside, though — pests. How do you keep these critters away from your plot without any environmental implications?

Traditional pest control methods aren’t healthy for your produce or environment. Here are 10 eco-friendly practices to try instead.

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Environmental Blog

 
Environmental sustainability has come to the forefront of many people’s minds in the past decade, and with the increasing amount of trash in our landfills and oceans, decreasing air quality and rising global temperature, learning how we can mitigate our effects on the planet is key.
 
In this section, we’ll focus on issues impacting the environment, from agriculture to home gardening and plastic pollution. If you’re looking to learn more about current environmental issues and what steps you can take to help the environment, then keep reading!