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Problem is creation of food waste, not its disposal


The Jan. 22 editorial, “There’s money in those scraps,” accepts something I find “distastefully” unacceptable, and if you think about it, I believe you will too. While Charlestown Rep. Donna Walsh has the right idea “of changing our mindset,” it’s not the disposal of food waste that’s the problem. That’s putting the proverbial “cart before the horse.” It’s the creation of food waste, to the tune of 40 percent of all food produced in this country is discarded, according to ... well, it’s common knowledge these days, but google Natural Resources Defense Council if there’s any doubt.

Let’s please not go from here but take a step back, question how we got here and get the heck out! Just as full employment yields a 5-6 percent unemployment rate that can never fully be eliminated, there will always be some food waste at full consumption, but 40 percent? Nokidhungry.org tells us one in five American children struggles with hunger and, worldwide, the 2012 United Nations hunger report in October found that one in eight, almost 870 million people, were suffering from chronic undernourishment, giving me confidence to say wasting food is an immoral act that heartlessly says “I don’t care” about the millions suffering from lack of food and nourishment.

Note your Page 4 editorial sat on Page 3’s Local & State report, where we learned a defendant said he “currently makes a living scrapping,” whatever the heck that means. But I know from personal experience it has to involve the ubiquitous 40 percent food waste that shamefully must offend us all. There’s been a lot written on how climate change affects food production, but please consider the energy intensive food production’s affect on climate change? Further, a February 2013 Institution of Mechanical Engineer’s report from the United Kingdom found that a hectare of land can annually produce rice or potatoes to feed 19 to 22 people, but if used for lamb or beef production, it will only feed one or two people while using about 50 times the water needed to produce crops. The environmental impact of a carnivorous diet aside, dare I mention the human health impact with heart disease topping the list of causes of death in America?

Fundamentally, “There’s money in those scraps” can be more appropriately titled “There’s immorality in those scraps,” say nothing of the murder to our non-human animal friends that starts a chain of events that is best avoided for both the sake of the planet and the sake of yourself. Alcoholics Anonymous exists to help people avoid alcohol, is “Foodwasters Anonymous” necessary to break this horrible habit that’s a loser from every possible perspective? In conclusion, I think it’s questionable to reduce a moral issue to a monetary one. The bottom line is the bottom line, with the plight of Rhode Island taxpayers (you and me) saving so much more money by eliminating waste rather than its proper disposal.

Jay Lustgarten

Westerly



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