The Guide to Leftovers
By Sean Kim and Joonwon Lee
For every egg wasted, 55 gallons of water are wasted. Every banana is 210 gallons of water, and every patty of burger meat is 1,850 gallons of water. The US alone wastes 1.3 billion pounds of food annually, harming the environment from the decomposition of rotten food and the natural resources used to make the food products. Just the simple act of throwing away rotten bananas or leftover burger meat puts the whole process of making those foods into vain.
Most of the time, the leftover food thrown into local landfills eventually rots turning into deadly methane gas which is harmful to the environment. Throwing away leftovers might seem like an insignificant problem, however, by throwing away leftovers, you only continue to fuel a bigger problem, the climate crisis.
Global warming, a phenomenon that is heating the world, has been slowly making its way to becoming one of the biggest global threats to the earth. Global warming is caused by the emission of greenhouse gasses, a certain type of gas that is able to capture the sun’s radiation and ultimately heat up the earth.
Some of the greenhouse gasses that contribute the most to global warming are water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. Methane is one of the main greenhouse gasses produced by food waste. In fact, for every 100 pounds of food waste, over eight pounds of methane is released.
Over the past 20 years, methane has contributed 86 times more to global warming than carbon dioxide. Although a simple fix for this would be to prevent food waste, this problem is easier said than done. And for that reason, we have rounded up a list of tips to help you on your journey to a food-waste-free life.
Other suggestions to reduce the food waste is to simply store food correctly in order to get the maximum amount of life span from it. Studies have shown that storing food in proper conditions such as proper lighting and temperature can extend food life much longer. For example, a banana stored on a counter can usually last for 5-6 days but if left in the freezer, according to the Detroity Food Press, it can last up to three months.
Cooking with Leftovers
Nevertheless, if you still find yourself stuck with leftovers, it is important to become creative and use those leftovers to create even better dishes. By using fried rice leftovers, for instance, some people can cook up a fried rice with an over-easy egg on top.
Also, leftovers can be anything from the uneaten stems of broccoli to the white part of green onions. Bso being able to use every single part of a plant effectively instead of trashing the “inedible” bits can become a game changer in conserving food.
There are different ways that everyone can reduce the food they waste easily. LOMI is a kitchen appliance that takes food waste and turns it into nutrient-packed soil for gardens by speeding up the decomposition of organic waste. In order to turn this food waste into nutrient-packed soil, LOMI goes through a process of breaking down the leftovers through heat, abrasion, and oxygen.
So far, this device has saved more than 48 million bags worth of plastic from ever being produced as customers are able to grow more at their own garden rather than buying from grocery stores over the span of 5 years.
Advanced technology presents more ways to reduce food waste. Apeel is an invisible, edible coating that extends the shelf life of fruits and vegetables up to five times over.
The coating is made from grape skin and other materials that are usually discarded, saving food waste in two different ways.
From buying new foods, to discarding the leftovers, we impact the Earth daily. Even food scraps as small as (insert example) can impact our Earth. These scraps come from a long chain of previous events that take energy and resources. Throwing those scraps away affects the Earth negatively.
The next time you decide to throw away your leftovers, take a second to pause, think about the impact of your actions, and reconsider if it’s worth it to throw it away or to save it for a later snack.