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People Can Save More Than Food When They Reduce Their Food Waste

Lucy Schroder Lucy Schroder People Can Save More Than Food When They Reduce Their Food WastePhoto courtesy of SWACO
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How often do you buy vegetables, only to let them rot in the refrigerator? How often do you buy boxes or cans of food but never use them? How often do you cook too much food and throw the leftovers in the garbage?

If you’re like most people, you’re probably doing these things more often than you realize.

Central Ohio residents and businesses send nearly 1 million pounds of discarded food to the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill each day. Food waste makes up nearly 15% of the local waste stream – more than any other category.

As the operator of the sanitary landfill, SWACO is committed to preventing and reducing food waste in Central Ohio. To this end, SWACO convened dozens of businesses, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and government entities, challenging them to come up with a comprehensive approach for cutting food waste in half by 2030. Calling themselves the Central Ohio Food Waste Initiative, the group, which now totals more than 150 partners, published a Food Waste Action Plan in May 2019. The plan laid out 20 specific initiatives for preventing food waste, rescuing and redistributing edible food, and recycling food through composting and other methods. One of those initiatives was a consumer education campaign.

SWACO introduced the campaign, “Save More Than Food, Make a Difference,” on Sept. 15. It’s meant to not only create awareness about food waste occurring in Central Ohio, but also to encourage behavior change and connect families, schools, restaurants and other businesses with valuable information and resources to reduce food waste and protect the environment, save precious natural and economic resources and help solve food insecurity faced by too many in our community.

The numbers don’t lie. When food is thrown away, all of the resources that went into producing it are lost, including more than 160,000 acres of land, 22 million gallons of gas and 41 billion gallons of water that are used to produce and distribute food that gets thrown away rather than eaten. The amount of food wasted in Central Ohio is the same as about 187 million meals, which is equivalent to sending three meals to the landfill for every meal missed by Central Ohio neighbors in need. 

Clearly, reducing food waste saves more than food.

SWACO encourages residents and businesses alike to be part of the solution. You can start to make a difference by signing up for SWACO’s Save More Than Food newsletter and visiting SaveMoreThanFood.org. The easy-to-navigate website features information and statistics about food waste, links to resources, links to the campaign materials, and tips and suggestions for reducing food waste at home, at school and at work. Together, we can reduce food waste – and save more than food – in Central Ohio. 

Save More Than Food is brought to you by SWACO, Franklin County’s resource for solid waste diversion and disposal. SWACO seeks to reduce the community’s reliance on the landfill as well as meet state mandated diversion goals by providing waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting programs and services to residents and businesses in 41 central Ohio communities, totaling more than a million people. Franklin County’s rate of diversion – 50% – exceeds the national average. In addition to diversion programming, SWACO is the only Solid Waste District in Ohio to own and operate a landfill which provides the organization with a holistic and unique perspective on the local waste stream.

For more information, visit swaco.org.

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