Tag Archives: Don’t Waste Food SC

This Earth Day, Let’s Tackle Food Waste Together

By: Bureau of Environmental Health Services

When people think about Earth Day, some of the things that come to mind are recycling, planting trees, and reducing pollution.  Consider food safety and the reduction of food waste in this conversation. With 40% of all food in the United States being wasted every year, it is easy to see that this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.  These food habits lead to massive amounts of money wasted and environmental degradation – even though in South Carolina alone, 1 in 7 people, including 1 in 5 children, struggle with hunger according to Feeding America.  Fortunately, this is a challenge that can be addressed both individually and systemically.

You Can End Food Waste! It Starts at Home 

A couple of strategies for individual food waste management:

1).  Purchase only what you know you’re going to eat. When our refrigerators become overpacked, air is unable to properly circulate, and proper temperatures of less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit cannot be maintained. This results in food going bad and needing to be thrown out and energy being wasted through a constantly running refrigerator.  In case you need a good visual of the journey of bringing food to our tables, watch “The Extraordinary Life and Times of a Strawberry” put on by the Save the Food campaign and Ad Council.

2).  Regularly monitoring refrigerator temperature is an effective way to ensure your food isn’t going bad.

3).  Learn about date labels. Date labels, such as “best by” and “use by,” most often refer to quality. Even though a date label has been exceeded, a food product is not necessarily unsafe.

To find tips and tricks for storing and preparing your food visit:  https://savethefood.com/storage and https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/index.html.

4).  Practice portion control and keep your leftovers.  By doing this, you can end up reducing your “waist” with both your body and food.  Whether you are eating out at a restaurant or have over prepared a meal at home, have a storage container on hand to have a tasty snack later in the day or week.

5).  Donate! Food banks and local food drives are always looking for more items. Since roughly 25% of all food and beverages purchased by families in the United States end up in the trash, there is an abundance of food being wasted that could be used to feed those in need. To learn more about where to donate food, you can visit: https://feedingthecarolinas.org/.

For additional tips on how to reduce your food waste at home, DHEC’s Guide for Reducing Food Waste at Home is an amazing resource!

Addressing the Systemic Causes of Food Waste

As a community, the most effective way to make sure food waste stops before it starts is to support local and national food waste reduction initiatives. There are no national regulations directing consistent food date labeling.  With 17% of restaurant meals going uneaten and 55% of leftovers not even being taken home, oversized portions are serious contributors to food waste and any comprehensive food waste program should take this into consideration. If your household or business is interested in addressing the issue of food waste, consider becoming a Don’t Waste Food SC Food Ambassador. DHEC has created a toolkit to get you started.

Do Your Part This Earth Day

Failure to manage food waste can lead to increased pollution.  Food waste ends up in landfills and food decomposition adds to the pollution generated at those sites.  Municipal solid waste landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  You can help decrease those emissions by turning wasted food into compost or donating it to local food banks, food rescue organizations, and other non-profits.  This Earth Day do your part to reduce your personal food waste and spread the word about this increasingly important issue. Not only will you help protect the Earth that all of us share, you will save some money while you do it! For more information on how you can help tackle the problem of food waste, you can visit Don’t Waste Food SC!

 

Don’t Waste Your Holiday Food

By Adrianna Bradley

The holiday season is upon us and many of us are spending time with friends and family at holiday parties enjoying tasty dishes that we only indulge in once a year.

It’s all too easy to waste food around this time of year when our eating routines are all over the place. This year, we challenge you not to toss your holiday leftovers!

Cut down on food waste

Food waste is the No. 1 item thrown away by Americans, accounting for 21.6 percent of the nation’s waste in 2014, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  South Carolina produced over 600, 000 tons of food waste in fiscal year (FY) 2016 (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016).

This holiday we encourage you to join the fight to cut down on food waste in our state. Send your guests home with leftovers in a reusable container. This not only helps clean out your fridge but it also keeps you from being stuck with a fridge full of leftovers that could go bad before you can eat it all. But make sure that your guest does not waste their leftovers too! It’s also helpful to allow self-serving so each person fixes the right amount of food they can consume without throwing it out.

If you’ve tired yourself out from creating new recipes with your leftovers, try feeding people instead of our landfills. In case you didn’t know, one in eight Americans struggle with hunger — including nearly 800,000 South Carolinians — according to Feeding America. Food donation is a great way to provide surplus food to those who need it while recycling your leftovers. Besides, isn’t this time of year also the season for giving?

Give composting a try

If you cannot donate or reuse your leftover, try composting it. Sending food waste to a composting facility or composting at home can improve soil health and structure, increase water retention, support native plants and reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides.

As you can see, there are several options to avoid sending things to our state’s landfills. It’s important that we Don’t Waste Food SC.

DHEC in the News: Recycle your leftovers, changes in daily rain, childhood ear infections

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Don’t waste Thanksgiving: Recycle your leftovers, grease

No holiday is more associated with food and eating than Thanksgiving. While it’s not the “waist” issue you might think about, it can definitely be a “waste” problem.

Recycle your leftovers

This Thanksgiving don’t toss your leftovers. Food waste is the No. 1 item thrown away by Americans, and the Department of Health & Environmental Control is leading an effort to cut down on food waste across South Carolina.

Changes in daily rain, not flood or drought, might leave South Carolina dry

Less rain is falling day to day in South Carolina. That could mean bigger trouble for water users and the environment than extreme storms or drought.

The unsettling finding comes from a recent study of more than 3,000 weather stations across the country, including several in the Palmetto State. The study also concluded that differences in the rainfall varied too much from one locality to another for any one-size-fits-all solution to compensate for it.

General Interest

Ear Infections in Childhood

This week Bobbi Conner talks with Dr. David White about diagnosing and treating ear infections (and chronic ear infections) in children.  Dr. White is a Professor in the College of Medicine and Director of the Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat Program at MUSC Children’s Health.

DHEC in the News: Food waste, smoking cessation, rabies

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Don’t Waste Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving don’t toss your leftovers. Food waste is the No. 1 item thrown away by Americans and DHEC leads an effort to cut down on food waste across South Carolina. If you’ve tired yourself out from creating new recipes with your Turkey Day leftovers, try feeding people instead of our landfills.

DHEC offering free resources to quit smoking

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control celebrated the Great American smokeout by reminding people of the resources it offers for those looking to quit smoking. The American Cancer Society sets aside the third Thursday in November to encourage tobacco users to quit.

Bat potentially exposes person to rabies in Spartanburg

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — Health officials say a person may have been exposed to rabies in Spartanburg earlier this month.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said a bat was found between Converse Heights and Beaumont Village in downtown Spartanburg on Nov. 7.