We’ve all done this at one point or another…bought under ripe and/or fresh fruit in anticipation of consuming it, only to find that time passed by rather quickly and the fruit is now well beyond ripe and not close to being palatable without some divine intervention. Take, for example, the common everyday banana that often ends up being black. Don’t toss it out! Take heart, not all is lost yet!
If left in a brown paper bag, a banana ripens quickly. So quickly in fact, that the banana is also used to speed up the ripening process of other fruit by simply adding the unripe fruit in the same paper bag as the banana. That’s fine and dandy, but what about over ripe or black bananas and pray tell why save them, you ask? Food waste accounts for a sizable portion of material sent to the landfill. The following are a few statistics from the New York Times.
In 1997, in a rare study on food waste in the United States (U.S.), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that in 1995, 96.4 billion pounds of the 356 billion pounds of edible food in the U.S. was never eaten. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Americans generate roughly 30 million tonnes of food waste each year, which is about 12% of the total waste stream, with all (minus about 2%) of that food waste ending up in landfills. In the United Kingdom (UK), a study revealed that Brits toss away a third (about 6 million tonnes) of the food they purchase (about CDN$15.5 billion), and 30% of the food included uneaten and unopened food. In Canada, it is estimated that Canadians throw out at least 7 to 14 million tonnes of food (at least CDN$3 to 5 billion per year). The problem, however, is not unique to just these countries.