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Going Green

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

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

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

A Guide to the Benefits of Organic Pesticides in Your Garden

August 17, 2020
benefits of organic pesticides

Many home gardeners choose to spray conventional pesticides, which can be detrimental to soil and human health alike. Luckily, you can treat your crops more effectively without going completely pesticide-free. 

While many pesticides harm the environment, organic versions may be beneficial for home gardeners looking to treat pests without resorting to conventional methods. Here is a quick guide to just a few of the benefits of organic pesticides for your garden. You’ll find they’re well worth it.

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Environment

Pros and Cons of Organic Gardening

August 14, 2020
pros and cons of organic gardening

What do you picture when you think about organic food? Maybe you envision fresh produce, dairy and meat from a small-time farmer who lives down a dirt path. In some cases, you’d be correct — but there’s more to this practice than most people know. That’s especially true if you want to plant your own organic garden at home.

Before you dive into this project, you should consider all sides. Here are a few pros and cons of organic gardening.

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Environment

How You Can Begin Gardening for the Environment

August 12, 2020
Gardening for the Environment

A home garden can help you take the first step on your sustainable journey. There’s a substantial difference between a traditional garden and an eco-friendly one. The latter uses environmentally-conscious practices and habits to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs that are better for you and the planet. That sounds helpful, right?

By gardening for the environment, you can create a better world as a whole. 

Green gardens don’t use harmful products like chemicals or pesticides to promote and maintain growth. Instead, they rely on sustainable practices to support diverse local ecosystems. They also don’t generate any waste. 

A traditional garden may not use methods that work best for the planet. The way you curate and manage your garden defines whether or not it’s eco-friendly.

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