One hundred fifty thousand tons—that’s the amount of food waste Americans generate every day. Most of these are fruits and vegetables, followed by dairy and meat.
To give you a clearer perspective, that is equivalent to the weight of more than 35,000 killer whales. The environmental impact of food waste production is significant. According to the Guardian, it takes up at least 30 acres of land.
It also wastes over 4 trillion gallons of water and 780m pounds of pesticides. As these kinds of food accumulate in landfills, they create methane. This gas further contributes to greenhouse emissions.
This problem also hurts low-income households. In Utah, about 400,000 are hungry, said Feeding America. Food waste happens for many reasons. This also means solutions are aplenty, including refrigeration repair in Salt Lake City.
It Starts with the Refrigerator
One of the common reasons for food waste is poor storage, especially inside the refrigerator. Many types of food are sensitive to temperature. They require a certain level of hotness or coldness. Otherwise, they can grow pathogens that can spoil the food and, worse, harm people’s health.
What’s the general rule? Two hours, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Food that should be inside the refrigerator should not be at room temperature for more than two hours. It can even shorten to an hour if you have a hot kitchen. That is if the air temperature is over 32 degrees Celsius.
This also suggests you cannot freeze, say, meat, then thaw it, and then put it back again after a while. The FDA even recommends marinating food inside the fridge.
What to Do with Fruits and Veggies
Most of the food wastes are fruits and vegetables. You might buy them damaged or bruised. Not all of them also have to be inside the fridge.
Fruits such as avocados, bananas, berries, and citrus fruits are best left on the counter. Otherwise, they can lose their texture and flavor. Of course, frozen versions should be in the freezer.
Fruits and veggies you already cut, cooked, or peeled must be inside the refrigerator two hours after preparation or cooking. The ideal temperature is 4 degrees Celsius.
When Reading Is Wrong
You can use a fridge thermometer to monitor the temperature inside. Sometimes, however, the refrigerator is warm, but the freezer is cold.
The solutions can vary. For instance, the problem might be in the condenser motor or coil, which helps introduce cold air. Another explanation is a packed freezer. It prevents cold air from circulating correctly inside the fridge.
States like Utah are doing more to resolve the problem. For example, a facility is planning to convert this waste into renewable energy. This way, it doesn’t end up in the landfill and worsens carbon emissions. It is also putting this waste to good use.
You, however, can also do your share. Things as simple as buying what you only need and fixing refrigeration issues can already help reduce food waste, especially in the home.