Last winter, teams of researchers in three US cities donned goggles, gloves, and respirators, tore into bags of other people’s household garbage, and then pawed though the contents. Separating slimy banana peels from clumps of coffee grounds was dirty work, but it had a laudable goal: trying to get a handle on how much food waste could have been consumed or diverted before winding its way into the waste stream with a one-way ticket to the dump.
The problems associated with urban food waste are no mystery. Proof of the problem is everywhere, in overflowing garbage bins and grime-slicked compost caddies. Food scraps contribute to the already sizable piles of refuse that cities must haul to landfills; shuttling edible castoffs to people in need requires labyrinthine routes and mind-boggling logistics; and gases released by decomposing leftovers detract from cities’ work toward reining in emissions. But there’s surprisingly little hard data about who’s wasting what, and where, which makes it harder for cities to address the issue.
To sniff out specifics, the engineering company Tetra Tech (in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rockefeller Foundation) recruited more than 1,151 residents in Denver, New York, and Nashville. Of these, 631 supplied qualitative info in the form of kitchen diaries noting what they tossed and why. Researchers also inspected the contents of 277 residential trash bins, and 145 containers of commercial or industrial garbage.
I’ve been saying for a while now how we as humans are a trash species and don’t deserve nice things…I mean just look at everything going on in the world currently but articles like this further prove my point lol.