Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
September, 2014
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This Month's Articles

Back-to-School Safety 101:

Hope for the Best…..Prepare for the Worst!

Telephone Alerts Available for Flooding Hazards

The War on Food Waste

Little Red School House Drive a Big Success!

A Herd of Folks at the Thurston County Fair

Making it in the Dry Years

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 How much money did you throw in your garbage can today?

Food waste is money waste.

Have you been tossing cash in the trash? That is not as silly of a question as you might think. The average American family throws out about 25% of the food they buy. That includes the moldy cheese, stale bread, black bananas, and long lost leftovers.

Most people don’t think they waste that much food. However, when researchers asked people about their habits, and then actually measured what was in the trash, there was much more food than reported. All this waste has some very serious financial, environmental, and social consequences.

First, the average family of four spends about $1600 a year on food that they don’t ever eat. Is there anything else you could do with that $130 a month?

Second, are the environmental consequences. Sadly, food makes up 23% of residential garbage in Thurston County. It takes 1,000 gallons to produce one gallon of milk, ten gallons to make one slice of bread, and 2,500 gallons of water and 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. Then there is the land, chemicals and energy. Yet we regularly throw it away.

The social impacts are a critical issue. An estimated 50 million Americans do not have access to enough food. However, if the U.S reduced wasted food by just 15%, it could feed 25 million Americans. The resources used to grow food are not cheap. The more we consume and waste, the greater global demand for food becomes. In the end, food prices go up. So your neighbor with the minimum wage job, the FoodBank using donated funds to buy food, or organizations like the Red Cross that help in emergencies, just can’t get that dollar to stretch as far. That means hunger.

Thurston County Solid Waste would like to help our community change all that with the WasteLessFood.com project. First, find out how much you really waste by taking the challenge. It only takes about 10 minutes per week – less time than you spend watching commercials in one hour of television.

Once you get over the shock of seeing how much you really waste, start using the four easy SMART tools (Save Money And Reduce Trash). You’ll be surprised how much of a difference a few simple changes can make. You will save food, money, and time – there is no downside. You might even start eating healthier and find some great new recipes.

After you complete the four-week project and share your results online, we’ll give you a free FoodSaver kit and enter you into our monthly drawing for $100 in free groceries. Join us on Facebook at Waste Less Food - Thurston County to win great prizes and learn even more ways to reduce the food you waste.

Get your family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers involved and let’s see how big we can make this. Look for us at community events or schedule us to come do a presentation for your group. We even have a special challenge for students so encourage teachers to give us a call. For more information, or to start your challenge, just go to www.WasteLessFood.com You can also contact Gabby Byrne at 360-867-2284 or byrneg@co.thurston.wa.us.

By Terri Thomas

Smart choices help eliminate food waste! Smart choices help eliminate food waste!