For the past few years I have been paying more and more attention to the people around me and have managed to notice things that make my skin crawl. In particular, the extreme wastefulness that occurs around me on a daily basis. I am one of five kids in my family, so my parents buy a lot of food to prepare our meals. But, they buy in such surplus that it is impossible for us to consume all of it. Massive amounts of meat, vegetables, and starches go straight to the trash can. So, why do we continue to buy in bulk? Why don't we remember the instances in which we purchased three racks of ribs and only consumed two? Why do we make two trays of oven-prepared french fries when we can only consume one? The standards for the food quantity we purchase can be severely altered. We could halve the portions of food we purchase and still have enough for us to have a modest portion. Further, if we do have leftovers it is completely possible for us to save most of it as leftovers and allocate the next few dinners to leftovers. It honestly tears me up to see so much go to waste. Every time I help clean up after dinner and my parents ask me to scrap the remaining food into the trashcans guilt surges through my veins.
You might be wondering what event set me on this tangent today. What prompted me, after years of living in a household with too much food, to write this post today? Well, one of my best friends continues to exhibit the most severe case of wastefulness I have ever had the displeasure to witness. It is tradition at my high school to bring baked goods for your friend's birthday so that they can carry it around all day and everyone will know that they are celebrating another year of life. Naturally, for my friend's birthday my friends and I brought her boxes of doughnuts, trays of cookies, and containers filled with chewy brownies. Today, in our third period class, she told me that she went home that day, grabbed a trash bag, and threw all of her baked goods into the trash. Having only consumed the few desserts she could during the seven hour school day, she took all that remained and just threw it away without a second thought. I couldn't control the disgust and anger that made my blood boil the moment she disclosed that information to me.
"That's so wasteful! Why would you ask us all to bring you stuff for your birthday if you're just going to turn around and throw it away? We spent money on that and you just wasted it."
This was my automatic response. To which she quickly called me annoying and told me to shut up. Which I certainly did not deserve but my anger with her as a person is not the point of this post. The point is that people who surround me in my life clearly show little regard for the consequences of their actions. The point is that all of those baked goods could have been given to somebody who would actually eat them, as they were intended to be, rather than tossed away like it's trash.
I know, from experience, that there are hungry people surrounding all of us. Every time I visit my grandparents in North Carolina I help my Grandpa on his food truck. We start out early in the morning, while the rest of my family slumbers soundly in their beds, and set out to many different grocery stores in the area. We then enter through the backdoor and collect the shopping carts worth of food that they allocated for our food truck. Hundreds of baguettes, cakes, slabs of meat, carrot sticks, and so on are then sorted, weighed, and heaved into the back of the refrigerated truck. After a long day of bouncing between grocery stores, we head to the food bank where the workers, smiles wide and eyes bright, happily accept all that we collected for them.
So, yes, I know that the food my best friend tossed away like yesterday's trash had extreme value. Which is why I am so unbelievably irked.
Society needs to realize how everything we take for granted could be extremely valuable in other areas and to people with a different lifestyle. I urge you to look around and notice the same instances of wastefulness that will be present in your life as well. And I hope you can find a way to initiate change so that more people can be aided and less will go to waste.
Ever since I started working with my Grandpa on his food truck, an idea has lingered in the back of my mind about the prospect of raising enough money to start something similar in my area. But, I always deemed it to be too far out of reach. Now, my mind is changed. I need to do something because otherwise the guilt of remaining a bystander to wastefulness will begin to tear me up from the inside out.
Please, if you have any ideas on how to reduce the waste that occurs on a daily basis in modern day society reach out to me. Or, if you just want to discuss I am completely open to your opinions or ideas.
I hope you didn't mind the different type of post here. I just really needed an outlet to express myself. I hope I managed to open your minds to something that you might not have noticed before.