• Accokeek Foundation

Food Waste and Fun?

by Andrea Jones, Director of Programs and Visitor Engagement

The issue

Each year the average American family of four throws away $2,200 worth of food. Just think of what you could buy with that cash! And of course there are the environmental impacts. Most food doesn’t get composted the natural way, it ends up in landfills that are almost devoid of oxygen. That means that they never decompose. Check out these ten-year-old carrots found in a sealed landfill. They’re still orange inside!

Landfill-Carrots

And without the chance to decompose properly, landfill food emits significant amounts of methane that contributes to greenhouse gasses.

What’s really interesting to think about is how much this problem has increased in the last 40 years (by over 50%!) My parent’s parents rarely wasted food because it was too expensive. They really valued their food. They were taught how to can tomatoes for the winter and how to make delicious recipes from odds and ends that most people would throw away today. Why didn’t this knowledge get passed down? As an environmental organization showcases the lives of colonial Marylanders, we are particularly interested in the past, present, and future of issues like these.

Colonists dried apples to preserve them.

Colonists dried apples to preserve them.