Take a lesson from your mother: clean your plate

Wasting food is something students and the country should look to address

The massive amount of food being wasted at Ferris State University and other college campuses is a problem that needs to be illuminated and addressed.

Every time I go to a cafeteria on campus I am appalled at the amount of food I see people leaving on their trays. I do not understand why students take a whole plate of food only to take one or two bites out of the whole thing.

According to endhunger.org, 96 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States on average each year. 350 billion pounds of food is created for consumption each year in the U.S. and of that almost 100 billion pounds is wasted by retailers, restaurants, and consumers. The amount of food we waste as a country each year could be used to feed approximately 49 million people.

In this country people are introduced to the concept early in life that throwing away food isn’t such a bad thing. Kids watch their parents throw away old moldy food or tell them they don’t have to finish what’s on their plate if they’re not hungry. Some families don’t even keep leftovers. But throwing away food does have an impact.

Wasting food wastes money, time, and resources that we could be putting to good use. Oneaverage American households throw away 14 percent of the food they buy, which adds up to roughly $43 billion worth of waste, and the U.S. spends $1 billion every year just to dispose of wasted food. Think about what that money could have gone to.

There are steps that everyone can take to reduce their waste. Making or taking smaller portions of food is a great place to start. I understand that at the Rock Cafe and Center Ice you are sometimes served by someone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for a smaller portion size. At Westview students have complete control over the amount of food they take. If you are hungry after this you can always go get more.

Improving food quality would cut back waste a lot. If a student takes a bite of something and it doesn’t taste quite right, they just throw it away and get something else. Ferris has made great efforts to better the taste of the food offered here, but there is always room for improvement.

Eliminating trays in Center Ice and the Rock Cafe was a good idea. By limiting the amount of food students can carry back with them, it automatically cuts down on waste.

The number one thing everyone can do is just be more conscientious of what they are eating. Ask yourself how appetizing that particular food really sounds and if you are really going to eat that much.

Food waste is a problem that starts with the individual. It’s up to each of us to make the first step to reduce the loss of our resources. So next time you go to throw away a massive pile of food, just remember where it could have gone and how this waste could have been prevented. n