Five years ago I was shocked to discover active military families lined up for hours to get food from charity in San Diego. That was the first time I became aware of who the new face of hunger is and the staggering statistics about food insecurity. One in five Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from, yet 96 billion pounds of good food rot in landfills annually. I found it outrageous that precious resources, like food, are needlessly wasted, filling dumpsters and producing methane gas pollution, thus hurting our environment. Since I was 12, I have been working to change the paradigm of needless commercial food waste and, in the process, it has shaped who I am. Having a good idea isn’t enough, it’s more about creating collaborations, inspiration, empowerment, and having a tenacious attitude in overcoming obstacles. I’ve learned so much about hunger, the environment, and that young people really can make a difference. Teens care about helping the environment and the hungry, but both issues can seem overwhelmingly large and insurmountable. One of my greatest motivations for Donate Don’t Dump was to provide an easy way for young people to get involved and help shape the future we will inherit. From elementary schools to universities, we create opportunities for young people to get involved. We create ripples of change that I hope will become a tidal wave similar to the recycling movement and in the process alleviate hunger and help the environment. We need your help! Please consider getting involved to make change happen. Contact us for more information. You can make a difference at any age.
If you care about the hungry, the environment, and needless food waste; please support companies that donate their short dated or surplus food to food banks! As a customer you have the opportunity to influence companies to end food waste.
Want to help the hungry? The North County Food Bank gets all it’s food from fresh rescue donations from grocers, growers, and food companies. Last year they saved over 2,000,000 pounds of food. This holiday season your donations can help the hungry and the environment!
The holidays are a time that many Americans give thanks for all they have and consider those less fortunate. Please also consider the environmental impact your donation can make. Our partner, the North County Food Bank, provides the hungry with healthy fresh food donated by grocers, growers, and food companies. Last year the North County Food bank rescued over 2,000,000 pounds of food that otherwise would have been dumped into landfills.
Our Partner, Tribes for Christ at the La Jolla Indian Reservation is in need of gently used blankets, coats, and sweaters. Please contact us for donation pick up or go online to Tribes4Christ.com to make direct donation.
Please pick up a copy of Rivera Magazine or view online
“FOOD FOR THOUGHT Seventeen-year-old-Gabrielle Posard is the founder of Donate Don’t Dump, enlisting impressive clients like Whole Foods and Mamma Chia to help reduce food waste and combat hunger. – See more at: http://www.modernluxury.com/riviera-san-diego/story/the-givers#sthash.DLQfIIGp.dpuf
THE GIRL WONDER
Gabrielle Posard’s bedroom has the typical teenage trappings: posters of her favorite band (The Smiths) and scattered pics of friends and family. Well, except that client checklist on the desk for her charity, Donate Don’t Dump, started when she was 12 (?!). The organization has since been featured in People and recently won her a President’s Environment Youth Award, complete with a trip to the White House. “I just have a problem with inefficiencies,” says Posard, who signs her work emails “Founder & Big Cheese.” “I saw that there was a huge amount of food waste and people who needed that food, so, to me, that’s a solvable problem.” Whole Foods? Check. Albertsons? Check. Mamma Chia and the North County Food Bank? They’re all jumping on board with the Donate Don’t Dump program, which takes food that would have otherwise ended up in a dumpster and donates it to food banks. “It’s such an easy concept that I was surprised no one else was really doing it,” says Posard, who was inspired to start DDD after her big sister made a documentary about hunger. “At the end of the day, it’s good PR for the people who are donating and they get a tax write-off.” Posard has left her mark on every aspect of her charity, even designing DDD’s logo, a clever take on the cyclical recycling emblem. But nonetheless, when she first started DDD, CEOs and execs were understandably skeptical when she would arrive for meetings. “It wasn’t easy at first. I’m taking meetings with people who are working in the business world, and here I come, this short little kid, asking them to redo their business policies. I’m pretty sure at one of the meetings one of the guys in charge patted me on the head, so there was a struggle to get people to take me seriously.” Now those same execs are desperately trying to get a meeting with her when she’s not speaking with senators in Sacramento, where she’s trying to get the DDD program into all the Cal State schools. Even with college on the horizon, she has other philanthropic ventures in mind. “I’ve had my life planned out since I was 9. I want to get into clean energy next. I don’t think I could do anything in the future that wasn’t helping others.” Still, she has to finish high school first. “It used to be my secret charity life, but now everybody knows,” she says through laughter. “It’s so big that my classmates’ parents ask them if they know me.”
We are proud to participate in the USDA Food Waste Challenge and would like to invite more organizations join!
Recently a Youth Leadership UNESCO Project asked for a video about Donate Don’t Dump. As we don’t have a self produced official video we shared video stories done by student and professional news organizations. One of the news story they liked best was produced by VMSTV, a middle school broadcast program! Again- regardless of your age and experience you can make a difference!
Junemy Pantig is a recent Kinesiology graduate of CSUSM and outgoing Kinesiology Club President
In the United States, food waste is the second largest category of municipal solid waste
sent to landfills. About 40 percent of food goes uneaten and gets thrown away to landfills and
potentially contributes to greenhouse gas emissions especially with the production of methane, a
greenhouse gas that is twenty-one times more potent than carbon dioxide and one of the most
dangerous to the environment. Food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions by the
decomposition of food in landfills and the life cycle, which begins at the stage of production all
the way to consumption. Not many people realize that they are the biggest contributors to the
increase in methane emissions when they throw out their food as a producer, seller, or consumer.
The increased need to reduce food waste is likely to have a profound affect in the environment as
it reduces methane emissions and the effect it will have on climate change. Diverting food waste
will help reduce the occupancy it makes in landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With
the involvement of the government and businesses, being educated on handling food as a seller
and consumer and cutting back from throwing away surplus food will help raise awareness on
food waste. With Americans also suffering from food shortages, food insecurity can be reduced
along with greenhouse gas emissions when surplus food is donated to those in need rather than
being thrown into landfills. With the increase of these donations from commercial
establishments to organizations, there will be an improvement in the environment with climate
change especially with a decrease in methane emissions.
Keywords: Methane, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, food waste
Food waste is a problem worldwide. Not only are Americans throwing away food but
they are also throwing away about $165 billion each year. In the United States, about 40 percent
of food goes uneaten and gets thrown away ending up in rotting landfills where it becomes the
second largest category of municipal solid waste at 14.1% and accounts for a big portion of
methane emissions (Levis & Barlaz, 2011). From an environmental aspect, food waste leads to a
chemical usage such as fertilizers and pesticides, more fuel gets used for transportation, and the
more food rots in landfills, the more methane gets created, which is one of the most harmful
greenhouse gases that contributes to global warming and climate change (UNEP, n.d.). Methane
is twenty-three times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2). There are two ways in which
food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions: Decomposition of food waste after being
dumped in landfills and the life cycle, which starts from production to consumption (distribution,
retail, and consumer waste) (Venkat, 2012). Food waste increases the level of greenhouse gas
emissions especially with the production of methane, one of the most potent gases. There is an
increased need to reduce food waste as it affects the environment in regards to global warming
and climate change.
A literature review was used to search for information in relation to the effects of food
waste in the environment. Search engines, including Google Scholar, National University
Library System, and CSUSM Library, were used to seek information with using the terms “food
waste,” “climate change,” “environment,” “greenhouse gases,” “methane,” “rotting food,” sand
“landfills.” Articles were chosen based on the problems and solutions of wasted food in the
The introduction of methane emissions from food waste derive from the life cycle of
production to consumption. Americans throw away 1.3 pounds of food every day and 474.5
pounds per year (Miller, 2002). The landfill is generated at 25.9 million tons and 184.1 pounds
per person, the landfill volume is at 21.4 million cubic yards and density is at 2,000 pounds per
cubic yard (Miller, 2009). The food waste in distribution happens due to improper transporting
and handling of food especially when it’s perishable or kept at improper temperatures. Rejected
shipments can be thrown away especially when customers have no desire to take it. In 2008, the
food waste in retail estimated at 43 billion pounds (Gunders, 2012). Retailers view waste as part
of their business since customers select food based on cosmetic perfection. Some items are
damaged or unpopular to customers that they remain untouched until thrown out. Packages sent
to stores are too large for their expectant capacity and become overstocked, fresh and ready
made food often get thrown away, and they abide by the sell by date to be ready to stock up on
new items. Food waste in food services lose about 86 billion pounds of food (Gunders, 2012).
Plate waste is the biggest contributor due to large portions and undesired accompaniments.
Diners leave 17% of meal uneaten and 55% of leftovers aren’t taken home (Gunders, 2012).
Portion sizes have become bigger and can be two to eight times larger than a USDA or FDA
standard serving size. Of all restaurants, buffets waste the most food due to health regulations
and some restaurants abide by time limits. With food waste in households, families throw away
about 25% of food and drinks that they buy, with fresh fruits and vegetables being their biggest
waste (Gunders, 2012). Since products are cheap, families tend to purchase more than they need
resulting in a lot of spoilage and not enough utilization, they get confused with label dates, and
they increase their cooking portions. Foods thrown away are categorized as avoidable, possibly
avoidable, and unavoidable. People have a choice to eat food or they don’t. Avoidable food is
food and drinks thrown away that could still be eaten (Kelleher & Robins, 2013). Possibly
avoidable is food and drinks that are a preference for people’s eating habits (Kelleher & Robins,
2013). Unavoidable is food and drinks that have been contaminated or cannot be edible such as
bones (Kelleher & Robins, 2013). Food waste during disposal decomposes uneaten food
resulting in 23 percent of all U.S. methane emissions. Food scraps decay more than organics.
Beef is the single largest contributor and accounts for 16% of total emissions (Venkat, 2012).
Animal products have a huge impact to climate change since their emission footprint is really
high and contribute to 57% of the emissions compared to fruits, vegetables and grains with a low
emission footprint contributing to 31% of emissions (Venkat, 2012).
With the realization of food waste going to landfills, diverting this waste will help
conserve the limited space and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to Gunders
(2012), it is suggested that the U.S. government should conduct a food waste study and establish
national goals to reduce the waste. They should also explain the actual meaning of date labels on
food since consumers tend to misinterpret and assume that it’s expired, otherwise they wouldn’t
be throwing away good food. State and local governments should implement prevention
campaigns for food waste in their jurisdictions and operations (Gunders, 2012). Even though
retailers view waste as a part of their business, they should start to reconsider how it affects not
only their store but the environment. Americans can help reduce waste by being educated about
it and learning about their portions, when food starts to rot, and improving their grocery
This review provides evidence for an increased need to reduce food waste as it affects the
environment in various ways from the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, all
the way to global warming. When wasted food ends up in a landfill, it decomposes to form a the
greenhouse gas methane, which has global warming potential twenty-five times greater than
carbon dioxide (Levis & Barlaz, 2011). Food waste also accounts for more than one quarter of
total freshwater used in food and four percent of petroleum oil consumption, which all go to
waste (Venkat, 2012). Landfills that also contain organic materials are broken down by bacteria
to produce methane (EPA, n.d.), and adding rotting food increases these emissions. In the United
States, over thirty million metric tons of food waste is generated.
Worldwide, many people also experience food shortages. Forty-seven million Americans
suffer from food insecurity and are unsure when or where their next meal will be (FoodStar
Partners, n.d.). Over seventeen million children go to bed hungry, while senior citizens and
military personnel and their families are the greatest to suffer from food shortages (Donate Don’t
Dump, n.d.). Reducing food waste by fifteen percent would suffice to feed more than twenty-five
million Americans every year (Gunders, 2012). Many organizations collect surplus food from
commercial establishments and ensure that it goes to those in need and not to landfills. FoodStar
Partners have created an app that connects consumers to retailers who sell cosmetically
imperfect and surplus food at low prices (Kelleher & Robins, 2013). In 2012, California enacted
Bill 152, which gives farmers a 10 percent tax credit which is equivalent to 10 percent of the cost
of fresh fruits or fresh vegetables donated to a food bank (Kelleher & Robins, 2013). In addition,
food waste in landfills and the impact on climate change, could be avoided if the food portions or
food had been minimized and eaten by humans (Hall et al., 2009). Further research is needed to
account the life cycle and landfill waste generated at the global level.
Food waste has many economical and environmental impacts. Food waste should be set
to a minimum in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the change of climate. Within the
life cycle, producers, sellers, and consumers can all find ways to reduce waste by considering
various options of improving distribution and consumption. And with many Americans
experiencing food insecurity, this waste can be reduced when surplus food is donated to those in
need rather than thrown to rot in landfills. With the increase of food donations from commercial
establishments to organizations, there will be a huge improvement in the environment as far as
greenhouse gas emissions affecting the climate. There are many ways to help this problem and
it’s a matter of effort and learning to fix it. As we try to combat global climate change, we need
to put into perspective on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our environment from the
food we eat whether it be at the governmental, retail, or consumer level.