Once in a while I'll go to a buffet, and overwhelmed with all the plentiful options, I'll get 1 (or 5) too many plates of food. Most of which end up going in the trash.
When I found out that 40% of food produced in the U.S. is never eaten, while 1 in 8 Americans struggles to put food on the table*, I decided to change my habits.
* National Resources Defense Council
To make matters worse, the "EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash, constituting 21.6 percent of discarded municipal solid waste."*
Additionally when all that food breaks down in land fills, it does so "anaerobically". This means the decomposing food buried deep in the landfill doesn't get the oxygen it needs to decompose organically and releases methane gas into the atmosphere as a result.
Methane is a greenhouse gas which is 28 to 36 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Landfills, which are the third largest human-related methane producer, account for roughly 14% of these emissions.*
Essentially what we have here is a simple but alarming equation:
* U.S. Environmental Protection Agency