According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, roughly 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. ends up tossed in the garbage.
At the same time about 42 million Americans live in food-insecure households, meaning they are struggling with hunger, without enough food to eat. Feeding America has mapped food insecure households — over 10% of our population in Hudson County and over 17% in neighboring Essex County were food insecure in 2016.
According to the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Resources Institute, global food waste represents more greenhouse gas emissions than any country in the world except for China and the United States, accounting for 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually.
As organic material like food waste decomposes, it releases greenhouse gases, including not only carbon dioxide (CO2) but methane, (CH4) which is a gas 25 times more potent than CO2. You can use a Food Waste Greenhouse Gas Calculator to get an idea of how your wasted food specifically contributes to your carbon footprint.
Food waste has implications beyond just greenhouse gases; a recent NRDC report, Wasted, outlines not only the greenhouse gas emissions of this waste, but also its impact on water, cropland, landfills, and gross domestic product.
New Jersey passed a bill in 2017 requiring the state to develop a plan over the next year to cut the state’s food waste in half by 2030. Signed into law by former Governor Chris Christie, S-3027 establishes a statewide goal to reduce food waste 50% by 2030, giving the state Department of Environmental Protection one year to develop and roll out a reduction plan.
Plan and Track Your Food Purchases
Donate Extra Food to Jersey City Food Pantries
Consider donating extra food to local food pantries that serve our residents. Residents who donate “apparently wholesome” food to nonprofit organizations are protected from both civil and criminal liability through the Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.
At St. Peter’s University, Campus Kitchen reclaims fresh food for distribution and uses it to prepare meals for the community. The New Jersey Grow a Row Program also collects extra vegetables from gardeners in the area to bring to St. Peter’s program. To donate, please contact Erich Sekel.
Restaurants interested in donating reclaimed food in Jersey City can contact the local Jersey City chapter of Rescuing Local Cuisine. Please contact local organizer Kim Patel.
Recycle Your Food Waste: Compost
When you are preparing food, you can separate the food scraps and recycle them to create a natural and free source of fertilizer for your garden, yard, or houseplants. Vermicomposting and Bokashi also offer ways for you to recycle your food scraps. See our Composting Page for more information.