The Effect of Wasted Food in New York City

The Effect of Wasted Food in New York City


The Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that roughly a third of the food produced for human consumption in America is wasted. The amount equals out to about 1.3 billion metric tons (Weber & Matthews, 2008). This problem needs a solution, and the reduction of the post-harvest food loss will become increasingly important for the feeding of the constantly growing population. Currently, different states within the United States differ in food available for consumption. Post-harvest loss represents the amount of food that is available for human consumption but not consumed. Food waste happens when an edible item goes unconsumed as a result of inaction or human action and is often a decision made by the government, businesses, or individual consumers. The food issue is not only a problem in New York but also in other states in the US and even in other continents all over the world.

There is a copious amount of disregarded food that is tossed mindlessly into landfills. Kazmi&Shuttleworth (2013)estimate, Americans alone waste enough food in a single day to transforms a stadium capable of sitting over 90,000 people into a landfill. As an affluent nation securely cushioned by privilege and wealth, America uses many of resources to feed its population. It produces over 590 billion pounds of food annually. On the other hand,Dyble et al. (2012) affirm that it squanders and between 25 and 50 percent of the food produced. Recent studies and research by Stockholm International Waser Institution revealed that the United States alone produces enough food to sustain a population of roughly 860 million hungry people. It is further estimated that 40 percent of that food goes to waste (Dyble et al., 2012).

This research focuses on New York City as one of the major cities in the United States of America participating in food waste. One of the overriding reasons for choosing New York as compared to the other cities is that it is one of the most populous cities in the United States. Therefore, it offers a good base for making judgment especially in term of regional balance and geographical location. The large population is an incentive in getting diverse views on the issue of food waste. On the same, New York is the densest city in the United States with over 800 different languages spoken (Allen & Wilson, 2012). The different cultural identities of the people in the New York City are part of the basis for this research especially their view of food waste. New York is culturally diverse in terms of the composition of its population. New York also is the largest city in terms of gross domestic production. In the year 2012, it recorded 1.55 trillion, and this translates to the correspondingly high waste experienced in the city (Katz & Weaver, 2003). New York has very high food waste habits as compared to other cities and therefore chosen for research purposes.

Currently,Chen (2014) affirms, over 47,000 tons of food waste is exported every day from New York. The food waste travels to other states to be landfilled or incinerated. Approximately 1,640 tons of the waste is commercial waste that can be separated out from the overall waste stream. Riches & Canadian Council on Social Development(2008) claim that although a small amount of the total food waste is wet, it can be channeled for other purposes too. Failure to use alternative resources in food waste effectively has led to a mushrooming of landfills. The Global Green, a United States Coalition for Resource Recovery focuses on developing an effective program for the management of food waste. One of its visions is that waste from one activity is food for another. Global Green has come together to maintain the integrity of the environment; they benefit the people, the economy, and the environment. Allen & Wilson(2012) illustrate that one of the main projects for the team was to identify the process for permitting, and further creating a community engagement framework that developers can use to establish commercial waste processing facilities in New York. Some of the primary areas include Zoning, Permitting, Community Engagement and Environmental

Research questions

There are sobering realities of growing populations, including increased pressure on agricultural land, limited resources and negative externalities of food loss in society. Statistics show that it is time to study the economic incentives to reduce post-harvest losses.It is imperative to estimate the value of food waste. A baseline for policy makers and for the waste management industry to set targets, and develop the necessary initiatives, policies and legislation to minimize food loss. The proper understanding of quantity of food that is lost and how important that information is for policy makers to raise awareness of the issue, reduce waste and increase efficiency (Behnassi, Draggan,&Yaya, 2011). This study delves deep into the menace of food loss in New York City. Also, the paper looks at some of thepeer reviewed articles on the issue of food waste.

This researcher seeks to identify how food loss occurs at different levels. The levels include the final consumers, during storage, post-harvesting activities, and at all retail levels. At every stage, there is food loss and waste that is not consumed and, therefore, needs accounting for. At the same time, there are also factors that necessitate food loss in different cultures.Lupton, Miller,& MIT List Visual Arts Center (2010) identify in their research that food loss in African Countries is not the same food loss as experienced in Asia. Both places have different foods and other ways of living that differ.

The research paper also seeks to determine and identify some of the plausible approaches that can be used by the state of New York to curb food waste. The approaches have worked elsewhere in other countries, and their application in New York will avail the necessary results (Chen, 2014). However, it is true that different countries have different cultures and behaviors. Therefore, it is not a guarantee that the success of a method in one country would mean the success of the same method in another country.


Review of Related Literature

Losses of food and waste occur through the supply chain. Food is lost on the farms in the following ways: during processing, distribution and storage. Additional places where food is wasted are in retail stores and food service operations. Even in the household, for differing reasons, food is lost at every stage (Behnassi, Draggan,&Yaya, 2011). The United States, through the Department of Agriculture, issued a report on information about retailers and consumers. According to Gay(2012), in different states and especially in New York, the majority of the losses occur at food service levels and consumer levels. Food losses occur between market and harvest levels and more often during the processing portions of the supply chain distribution.

New York was preferred to other cities and counties within the United States for this research. For instance, the county of Erie is placed on the Northeastern Pennsylvania in the United States. The city originally was inhabited by Americans who still exist today. The greatest percentage of the citizens is still the Americans. The population is about half a million as this is smaller as compared to the population in New York City (Gay, 2012). The greatest composition of the population in Erie is the Americans as opposed to New York that has so many people from all walks of life. New York is a metropolitan city with people from all over the world.

New York City is the gateway to the United States, hosting many international organizations. This makes New York a place with culturally diverse people (Riches & Canadian Council on Social Development, 2008). New York is a cosmopolitan city, harboring people from all walks of life. New Yorkers come from different cultures and backgrounds and therefore, the comparison, especially with Erie gives a clear indicator of the nature of the people in both cities.

Edelstein (2014) elaborates that food waste and losses occur at different stages and places. Food is lost from the onset of harvesting, all the way to the final consumption by the respective consumer. Food waste includes losses at post-harvest activities, packaging, distribution and then at the final stage by the consumer. This paper will address food loss at different stages in the production process.

Food Losses in Farming

Production losses are greatest for fresh produce on the farms. Food is lost in two forms, food that is not harvested and food that is lost between harvesting and sale. There are risks associated with farming; it is difficult for farmers to grow the exact amount of food and produce that will match the demand on the market. Produce may not be harvested as a result of damage caused by weather, pests and disease (Weber & Matthews, 2008). In other circumstances, the economics of the market might cause food losses. Chen(2014) found that if the market prices are unfavorable, farmers might opt to leave the produce on the farms and forego harvesting because of the unfavorable prices. Also, farmers may plant more than the market demands on speculation that there might be the destruction of crops, or, as a shield mechanism against price changes. Eventually, this leads to bumper crop harvest with more crops on the market not warranting the cost of the harvest.

Another cause of unharvested produce is the problem of food safety scares. It has happened several times that the government announces the break-out of a certain disease. Such a warning has the effect of creating a negative perception among consumers and hence decreasing demand in the market. Labor is another big issue, especially in the market place. Edelstein (2014) claimsthat each year, roughly seven percent of food crops are not harvested as a result of the absence of labor. Also, the fields that are harvested may have a substantial amount of food left without harvesting. The workers are given training on selective harvesting leaving behind any crop that would not have attained the minimum threshold for harvesting, as per the training.

Food Losses in Post-Harvesting and Packing

The process of culling after harvesting is the primary source of all losses. Through the process of culling, some off-grade products are discarded. The markets and industries require certain quality in terms of shape, color, and many other factors. In cases where a product does not meet the set standards, they are deemed unfit and are thrown away. The standards of the specific industry cannot match the product (Dyble et al., 2012).However, some low quality product can be used for animal feed, thus minimizing the waste. Some food that has been harvested is stored as the farmer seeks for buyers. Unfortunately, some produce goes bad in the process.

Some of the employed workers, especially the ones doing packaging, might not take careful consideration of the importance of good handling of the products. Some of the workers might improperly pack without adequately care. Because of this reckless handling of the food, much is lost and wasted (Behnassi, Draggan,&Yaya, 2011). There is a vital need for proper training especially on food handling techniques especially for the produce to ensure that produce from the market is not wasted.Fortunately, in New York, the issue of food loss and waste in post-harvesting activities is not great because of the highly mechanized systems within the city. It is therefore not a big problem in New York unlike most developing countries where a lot of food is lost during this process.

 Food Losses in Distribution

Proper transportation and handling of the food, especially during transportation, is necessary particularly, for perishable goods. Inconsistent refrigeration is not a big problem but it still can occur if the trucks doing the transportation are in accidents or break down along the way. In cases that involve accidents, if the refrigerators malfunction and if the food produce is perishable, it will spoil (Strasser, 1999). In other cases, handling problems when produce is kept under improper temperatures and it is on trucks for too long. Imported products waiting at ports for testing and verification and through this they spoil may spoil if the process takes too long.

Kotler (1992) asserts thatcareless handling of food in transportation is a large source of loss and waste. The transportation process is another place where many farmers and consumers experience significant food loss. Riches &the Canadian Council on Social Development(2008) illuminate that the distribution process from harvesting to the consumer receiving the product,it undergoes many processess. The handling process along the path registers considerable food loss and waste. The greater the supply chain, the higher the probability of a high percentage of food loss, for instance, if food is packed and repackaged as it goes from the manufacturer to the retailer to the grocery and then to the consumer. There is a possibility that food is lost at each stage, if it is packed and repackaged again and again. Conversely, the shorter the chain, the more efficient the distribution process.For instance, if the food is brought directly to the consumer from the farm, it means there is minimizing distribution, and this translates to unlike food loss. Less distribution is an opportunity for the farmer to maximize the produce directly from the farm. Therefore, the distribution process plays an important role in minimizing food loss and waste.

Food Losses in Retail

Kotler (1992) on the other hand, identifies the retail business as one of the largest sources of food waste. Retail accounts for over 43 billion pounds or an equivalent of ten percent of the total food supply. Most loss in the retail business is caused by perishable foods going bad. This includes baked goods, produce, seafood, meat and, increasingly, ready-made foods. Supermarkets account for the greatest percentage of food that is lost through the retail business. Research estimates that in the supermarkets, approximately $15.00, are lost daily in unsold fruits and vegetables (Kotler, 1992).

New York’s population loses a lot of money in spending on foods that is eventually thrown away into dustbins. The families, the restaurants, institutions, farms and other stakeholders spend a lot of money to buy food and foodstuff only for purchases to spoil in the premises. The money spends then wasted through the purchases of the food that goes bad. Much money is, therefore, spent in on foods that go bad.Unfortunately, the retail business sees this waste as part of normal business operations, accounting for factors that are believe beyond business ability to control. In-store retail lossincludes overstocked products delays (Principato, Secondi,& Pratesi, 2015). Most retail businesses, especially retail stores in New York City work on the assumption that most customers will buy more from brimming displays and that they prefer to choose their apples from towering piles rather than from a scantily filled bin. The outcome of this is overstocking and eventually over the handling of both the staff and customers.

Customers’ expectations push the retailers to choose the most perfect products for the stock. The customers will select the grocery stores based on the quality of the perishables. The retailers, therefore, are compelled to have produce of perfect shape, color, size and this leads too much culling and therefore loses.

Another avenue of loss, particulary in the retail business, is the availability of fresh and ready food available for the customers until closing. With time, the retail business, especially the supermarkets, are preparing ready-made food in their delicateness and buffets. Managers would prefer to have displays of the ready-made foods see and attract rather than to have them empty due to the fears of getting wasted (Weber & Matthews, 2008). Ready-made foods account for a very large proportion of food lost to waste as a result of the policies with retail business. Much of the ready-made food is not sold and therefore discarded as waste. On the other hand, it close to impossible to determine the purchasing of the customers for the same food item. One cannot be certain that a certain food will be sold shelved. Other food products and materials on the shelves are affected by interact with favorable weather conditions causing them to go bad.

Furthermore, some of the stocked foodstuffs in the retail market expire with time. The products are discarded when the sites for sale date expires. The sale dates on the products are designed to help the retailer with stocking and more so for the customer to ensure that whatever they are buying is fresh from the market. It is estimated that over $2,300 worth of food isdiscarded by the supermarkets as out-of-date every day. All this food is consumable but has a limited shelf life (Dyble et al., 2012). In New York, it is the law that retailers should not sell products that are out of date. Therefore, out of concern, that they would lose customers, retailers opted to sell only fresh products, and the remaining out of date product is discarded to the bins.

Food Losses in Institutions

A greater percentage food is dumped in colleges, universities and even in cafeterias. Much of this food goes to bins and landfills, but some other foods are stored for animals as feeds. However, the reality remains that a great deal of food is wasted through institutions. Budgets are made that are not proportional to the number of people the institution is expected to serve as the food. In other circumstances, it is careless of handling of the food by the staff that is doing the preparation. However, the students and the various people who consume the food, waste a lot of it.

Guillou&Matheron(2014) identify one of the problems, especially to the household consumers and even the students and the various people in restaurants, cafeterias, and in institutions, is the lack of awareness of the nature of the food waste. Leal Filho&Kovaleva(2015)claim the people have not come to terms with the effects of the food waste to the lives of human beings and also the environment. The institutions stock a lot of food from the vendors and through improper packaging and storage much of the food goes bad and is discarded away.Other losses are through the leftovers. Some people order more than what they can finish and through this there is a lot of leftover food that goes to waste.

Research indicates that considerable great amount of food is lost when students are given food on trays. Tray service is a source of food loss. More so, food given in groups and also buffets are other sources where food is wasted and lost. There is a great need for the regulation of the same through policies that should establish to curb the problem. Also, extensive menu choices make it difficult for the achievement of proper inventory management. The large and extensive menus require more inventory recording. The unexpected fluctuations in sales also make planning difficult to achieve. Particularly wasteful are large in buffets that cannot be reused due to health restrictions.

Food Losses in Households

The American families specifically in New York City throw out approximately 25 percent of the beverages and food they buy. The estimated cost for an average family of four is around 2000 dollars annually (Bloom, 2010). The consumer food waste also has serious implications for the waste energy. It is estimated that about two-thirds of the food waste are as a result of the food spoilage. The other half is a result of serving too many foods on a plate for an individual.

At the retail and consumer end stages of the supply chain, the perishables make up the-themajority of waste is due to the high volume of the consumption and the tendency of the food to spoil. In terms of the majority of food losses especially in the households, vegetables and fresh fruits account for the greatest percentage of terms food losses. This is followed closely by dairy and other items like meat (Weber & Matthews, 2008).

There are also other causes that lead to food spoilage. One of them is impulse and bulk purchases from the retailers. Most families are attracted especially to a well-done promotion of certain food in the market. The customers are attracted and end up making unplanned purchases of the foods. Such practices cause the customers to buy food that is almost outside their-their meal planning that eventually ends up in bins as a result of spoilage. Also, lack of proper planning is evidence of the wasted food in the landfills. The absence of plans for the shopping lists, estimates that are inaccurate and impromptu restaurants meals can lead to purchased food spoilage before use.

Households together with retail and grocery record the greatest sources of food waste. Particularly in the household, food is lost in so many ways. The wrong use of the expiration dates as labels on the food materials is a major contributor to food loss. Most consumers would read it as the date the food gets spoilt and, therefore, unfit for human consumption. Most of the consumers would even regard food as a source of health complications if taken after the expiration date. However, the information relayed on the sticker means, the food, preferably, should be consumed before the date (Weber & Matthews, 2008). Any fresh food is preferable as compared to this that has expired. However, it does not mean the food is spoilt and unsafe for human consumption.

Environmental Effects of Food Waste

There is a great amount of food that is disregarded and thrown into landfills. Americans specifically New York City, waste a lot of food, and this can be seen with the large numbers of bins and collection centers all over. As an affluent nation that is securely cushioned with privilege and wealth, it expends vast resources to feed its population.

The damage of food waste far exceeds a mere loss of caloric intake. The waste of food is an exponential loss of resources. The acidification and salinization from the inappropriate use of the fertilizers and the removal of the beneficial vegetation destroy nutrients within the soil causing the rich landscapes to become dry (Leal Filho&Kovaleva, 2015).  The produce wasted in affluent countries such as the United States leads to an unneeded loss in soil fertility and unnecessary water expenditures. The cost of producing such large amounts of food equates to farmers withdrawing alarge volume of water in liters from wells, lakes and streams of water. Large volumes of water are wasted to water crops that are eventually lost to the garbage and the bins.

Also, the food waste is buried in landfills where it decomposes into toxic effluents like methane, a greenhouse gas that is twenty percent more potent than carbon dioxide. The landfills in New York account for a great percentage of the methane emissions. The other emissions are from the growing of food crops, transportation, food manufacturing, and disposal (Hoornweg & Bhadra-Tata, 2012). The greenhouse gas emissions are due to food waste cycle with the gross overproduction of foods leading to higher inputs of carbon dioxide energy and subsequently large amounts of foods in landfills.

Consequently, as a result of the injected large amount of the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, there is the problem of global warming in the world. The gasses are released to cause a blanket that prevent the outflow of the infrared relationsand, therefore, increasing the warmth of the earth’s surface (Schlosser, 2001). Global warming also has other disadvantages since its effects are dire. In some places, there have been floods as result of the increased temperatures on the surface of the earth.

Moreover, the landfills are an adverse effect on themselves. There is an increase in population in New York. With time, the population will have grown especially in terms of numbers and population density. The increase in population only translates to an increase in some households and, therefore, acorrespondingincrease in the disposal. The increased disposal of food means an increase in the number of landfills in New York (Kazmi&Shuttleworth, 2013). The number of landfills posits a danger to the health of the individuals in the area. It becomes more prevalent to contract disease.

New York’s population loses a lot of money in spending on foods that is eventually thrown away into dustbins. The families, the restaurants, institutions, farms and other stakeholders spend a lot of money to buy food and foodstuff only for purchases to spoil in the premises. The money spends then wasted through the purchases of the food that goes bad. Much money is, therefore, spent in on foods that go bad.

The Landfills and the food waste that is dumped produce a pungent smell that is unpleasant. The smell is uncomfortable and hence undesirable for human living. It is one of the major concerns why there are few compost pits in New York for the food waste material. Some of the compost pits that were established were covered up, and the land converted into a center for recreation. It poses a challenge and information the public that issues of food waste and its importance in the society is not given the great magnitude of thought and consideration.



The paper seeks to describe the means of food waste in America. It further looks into the effects of food waste both to human beings and also to the environment. This paper will address the solutions to food loss and waste. Americans in New York waste a great deal of food in the city, and this cuts across the board. These include the restaurants, institutions, farms and also the individual households.

Food waste has consistently remained a thorn in the flesh of New York and remains an issue of concern. Through this extensive research, the researcher seeks to identify some of the various causes of the food waste problem. The study will involve reviewing scholarly journals and publishing logical arguments. The researcher will also incorporate first hand facts from the past and present data. The researcher’s aim is to determine the real cause of the food menace in New York and propose some of the solutions to the problem. Furthermore, the researchers seek to demystify the effects of food waste both to the environment and to human lives.

The secondary material examined the information on people in New York, their eating habits, and their purchasing habits. The data was gathered from previous articles, books, and journals, which focused on the eating habits as well as purchasing habits. Therefore, th emetod os strudy ws a literature review. The state has tried so much in dealing with the problem of food waste to completely curb losses. Some of the efforts employed by the State are the creation of landfills for the dumping of the wastes (Guillou&Matheron, 2014). Others include the implementation of the different waste recycling plants to ensure every waste is recycled and hence reused for other purposes.

The researcher seeks to undertake the process through a different stage. Some of the places secondary information was collected included the households, hotels, restaurants, institutions and also directly in the farms. The wide scope gives a more concrete answer to the problem than just identifying sectors and using it for analysis. Moreover, the researcher seeks to consider also the solution for the handling of the food waste in New York. This includes the already existing methods for handling wastes and other methods not yet incorporated but can be used for recycling wastes.

In the data, out of the three hundred people, one hundred and fifty people came from Erie. The regions are placed in different parts of the United States. The places also have different population composition with different eating habits and handling of wastes. As from the data, ten respondents from Erie were Americans and three immigrants living in Erie. On the other hand, in New York only thirty respondents were picked from Americans as the rest were a mixture of people from different places (Lupton, Miller, & MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2010).

Some of the regions and towns covered by the research include Manhattan, Brooklyn, Suffolk, Putnam, Sullivan, Columbia, Franklin, Broome, Cortland and Madison. Ten people came from the ten regions represented (Lupton, Miller, & MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2010). The other 150 people came from the other regions within New York not represented among the ten regions. The different regions plus the comparison from Erie provide a wide perspective on food waste.

The research process began with the respondents giving a proper introduction and their places of origin and other information about them (Kotler, 1992). This included how much the household spent on food in a given period, the place of work, and the approximate food wastes that the respondents left after the purchase of food. The respondents also addressed the issue of food bought in the house that goes bad. More so, they also responded to the food waste and their solutions to the problem showing it is a real issue in the society.

From the literature review it is clear that there is wasted food from different areas. The information on the two graphs reveals the food that is produced and wasted. The difference can be deduced from the information (Gunders, 2012).

The figure shows the production of commodities in their groups in their primary form. The production information was compiled by the FAO in the year 2013. The meat production in the industry was dominated by pig meat. For instance, in Europe, meat production was dominated by the pig meat (Schlosser, 2001). On the other hand, Latin America was dominated by the large cattle and chicken production.

The figure depicts raw production of the various quantities of food in their raw forms. Nothing has been consumed by the final consumers. The factors presented include cereals, roots and tubers, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products. The various classifications involve all the products belonging to the same group. For instance, cereals would involve all the products in the category of cereals and these include maize, beans, peas, and beans (Gunders, 2012).

The figure above shows per capita food wastes and losses (Weber & Matthews, 2008). The wastes and losses are represented both at consumption and pre-consumption stages and also in different regions. As shown in the diagram, roughly one-third of food produced for consumption is wasted or lost globally. The one-third amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. The food is wasted right from the initial agricultural production down to the final stage of household consumption (Strasser, 1999). In high and middle-income countries, the food is wasted to a greater extent and even dumped away even if it is still suitable for human consumption. On the other hand, food is also wasted in the low-income countries, and this mainly happens in the early and middle stages of food supply chain.

The second figure shows per capita food loss in North America and Europe is 280kg/year per capita. In Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, it is 120-170kg/year. The per capita production of edible food, suitable for human consumption is, in North America and Europe, about 900kg/year, and in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia is 460kg/year. The per capita food wasted in North America and Europe is 95-115kg/year while the figure in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia is 6-11kg/year (Gunders, 2015).

As Kingsolver(2010) explains, food loss in industrialized countries is as high as in developing countries. However, the difference occurs in the place of the food loss. In developing countries, more than 40 percent of the food losses occur at both processing and post-harvest levels. Conversely, in industrialized countries, food loss and waste occur mainly at the consumer and retail levels. The food loss in industrialized countries is estimated as 222 million tons, which is almost as a high as in the sub-Saharan Africa, which produces 230 million tons.

In low-income regions, rice is the most common crop especially in the highly populated regions of Southeast and South Asia. For these regions, the agricultural production and after harvesting handling and subsequent storage are different stages in the process, and they register high food losses as opposed to consumption and distribution levels.

In the roots and tuber groups, sweet potato, especially in China, is the crop that dominates supply in medium and high-income countries. The results indicate that for both the medium and high-income countries, the largest volume of losses occur during agricultural production (Schlosser, 2001). The losses during the post-harvest process occur during grading as a result of the quality standards that have been set by the retailers. Moreover, food loss is high at the consumer level.

The obtained information will be analyzed using the relevant statistical tools to decipher meaningful information and statistics. The analyzed information will then be presented using an appropriate method of presentation, such as tables, graphs, charts. Through the research, the researcher will be able to draw necessary conclusions on the issue of the food waste and the necessary solutions to the problem in New York.



It is evident that the menace of food waste is a real issue in the contemporary society. The problem is matching the increasing population. It is an estimate that food waste will double the current amount by the year 2030 (Allen & Wilson, 2012). That means there will be increased dumping sites and landfills and many other issues that might arise as a result of the problem of landfills. Therefore, there is a need to derive methods to handle the problem.

From the secondary information, it is evident that food loss and waste can be linked to the people’s habits. There is always enough to throw away and people are used to this kind of lifestyle. It is something that has become normal and therefore, the relevant people find no issue with it as long the family has enough any other consideration is considered vague. However, such an attitude is one of the major causes of food loss and waste specifically at the household levels.

From the research, there is a clear difference regarding wastes from New York and Erie. There are more food wastes and losses in New York as compared to food waste in Erie (Kotler, 1992). The reason for the large volumes of food waste is because of the large population in New York. It is evident that the more population, the more food waste if all other factors are held constant. The patterns for food loss were constant for the population in Erie since most of people are Americans. Food wastes and losses were mainly at the consumption level in families, groceries and in a restaurant in Erie. On the other hand, in New York, their diversified population exhibited food loss in different forms. Food loss happened mainly at the consumption level, and food lost was still edible (Ellwood, 2012).

At the moment, food is inextricably linked to culture (Lupton, Miller, & MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2010). People’s way of life determines their ways of doing things. It is very close to impossible to change the culture of a given people from what they are used to. For instance with eating habits, it is a daunting task to change a family household that used to a given form of living to change to a different lifestyle. The situation is worse if the family has been living that way for a long period.

However, in both places, there was food loss through other means also like expiration dates, improper handling, especially during storage and transportation (Gay, 2012). Also, food loss is greatest in New York as compared to the loss in Erie because of the relatively large population in New York as compared to the populace in Erie.

From the secondary information, it is true that people were aware of the effects and implications of food waste and loss. Some of them understood that it costs consumers some cash which is a loss for the individuals. Additionally, consumers understood the environmental effects of the dumping of food in sites and other places.



According to Chen(2014),farms can develop policies and structures to minimize food loss and waste. The whole issue with food loss and waste is a holistic process that encompasses all people. It starts right from the farmer on the farm all the way to the final consumer.Kingsolver(2010) elaborates, it might minimize at every stage for the whole process to operate and work efficiently. In the farm, the researcher proposes the workers to make online exchanges as a base to find markets for the rejected goods. The platform encourages faster delivery and wastes less time and the respective products (Fullbrook, 2010). Apart from that, the employees should undergo training to ensure proper handling and storage. The training will also help in the gaining of skills in proper maintenance of the distribution of the various resources.

Restaurants are also on the highest rank regarding food loss and waste. One of the proposals that can be used is the introduction of charges for some small fee for any unfinished food. Any order made by the customer has to be finished and if not then the respective customer should incur the charge by paying the small amount of cash maybe two dollars for the leftovers (Gay, 2012). The money should be put into for use for other purposes including the establishment of a recycling plant.

Furthermore, there is a proposed need for the supermarkets and the retail business to handle goods with certainty and care. Although it is still a problem since the supermarket attendants nor the retail businesses can never know whether customers will come or not. Therefore, the retail businesses work on assumptions that there is a probability that customers will come to an estimated number at least every day (Hoornweg & Bhadra-Tata, 2012). Since the customers need to see the products on display, the retail businesses will display vast and variety of the quantities for the customers to have wide scope to make a choice. The research paper proposes a solution for the retail owners to apply better storage measures of the goods they stock.

As in other states as well as Massachusetts, any food waste from an institution that is more than a ton in a week, it is a requirement that the institution compost it instead (Ellwood, 2012). The same rule and regulation is yet to be established in New York. The compost is better since it is environmentally friendly. There is the presence of oxygen to facilitate the process of decay as opposed to landfills where there is no oxygen, and there is no decay too. The compost through decay can produce manure that is very useful on farms (Hoornweg & Bhadra-Tata, 2012). Unlike the landfills that only add high-level percentages of methane gas, a greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere thus hastening global warming. Also, through composting, the state can invest in anaerobic digesters that are useful and produce energy from the organic waste.

Moreover, the schools and the institutions should make proper budgets for their food. Over budget is one of the causes of food waste. Proper and realistic budgets should be prepared with regards to the number of people the institution is serving to minimize food loss. More importantly, the institutions should use methods and systems that will be efficient in handling waste of food (Lupton, Miller, & MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2010). These include the establishment of a recycling plant in an institution,especially where waste is perceived to be higher, and regulatory measures are not working. Additionally, the program can be included in the school eating programs to help curb the problem. For instance, salad bars can be introduced to allow children to choose the food they want to eat (Principato, Secondi, &Pratesi, 2015). The freedom to choose eliminates any action to throw away other food stuff that is unwanted.

Also, this paper proposes that students in campuses, purses and colleges be discouraged from overloading of the trays with food. A small relief in appearance but cumulatively the problem is big and causes much food waste in the college. On the other hand, other methods can be used to achieve the same purpose of minimizing food loss (Allen & Wilson, 2012). There are firms and if not, then they can be formed to give advice on food service establishment that can be used to reduce waste. The services include the use of Waste Audit Toolkit embedded with tracking sheets.

There is a growing increase of food waste in the households. The trend is growing, and more food is dumped and discarded by the households. This research proposes the state to carry out an awareness program of the need for proper usage of food. The households also need to be emancipated on the effects of the food waste especially its devastating effects on the environmental conservation and management (Gunders, 2012). The lack of information among the state members is one of the causes of the increased food waste.

Additionally, the households can further do proper shopping lists to avoid any expenditure not initially planned. Cases of bulk purchases as a result of promotion or unplanned expenditure often results to overstocking in the households, and there is a likelihood that such food will spoil especially if it is perishable. The households need to be educatedon the need for proper planning before doing any purchase of expenditure in the house (Elliott, Jahn & Madkour, 2012).

One of the most efficient proposals for use in reducing the food waste is the use of the recycling plants to recycle the foodstuffs for reuse. Although there are such plants in New York, there is a need for more regarding a number to increase the rate of recycling and the usage of the alternative the product (Leal Filho&Kovaleva, 2015). The recycling plants are the best alternatives for handling wastes since the food is reused for other purposes. At the same time, they are reducing the occurrence of food in the environment posing dangers since they are hazards to the atmosphere.

New York can also invest more recycling than in making up landfills for the waste. It is better the food waste that cannot be removed completely from existence be recycled than heaping it in landfills. Moreover, the post-harvesting methods and activities can be improved regarding their efficiency including the labor input. The measure ensures that all the loops that propagate the loss of food are completely closed (Chen, 2014). These include processes, such as harvesting, culling, transportation and even storage.

Proposed Solutions and Approaches to Wasted Food in New York

New York can put in place programs for food donation. The state can voluntarily give food and foodstuffs to recipients like food banks, who then distribute the food to the needy people. Some of the key obstacles to food distribution include transportation, economic and legal challenges. The stores and farmers with surplus food might not be physically close to the food banks and rescue groups. Also, the food donors might be concerned about the legal repercussions if the food is unsafe. Establishing additional food banks to lessen travel distances will make redistribution of food easier.

New York State can establish evaporative coolers that extend the shelf life of food. The evaporative coolers keep the food at lower than room temperatures, and this works without the use of electricity. They work on a simple principle of the cooling effect of evaporation. The use of this technology is a low-cost way of preserving vegetables, fruits and tubers especially in places that have an expensive electric supply (Weber & Matthews, 2008). Also, the materials need for the construction of the coolers is locally available and relatively cheaper to acquire.

New York State can also organize for small metal silos to keep the food safe. They can be used by households and also by restaurants, and it can be an effective strategy for reducing food loss at storage stage (Leal Filho&Kovaleva, 2015). The issue of insufficient storage is a big menace that propagates food loss and waste, especially in developing countries. The failure to install airtight storage allows inflow of moisture into and pests to enter into the containers, potentially causing pests, mold and even contaminating the crops.

Leal Filho&Kovaleva(2015) illustrate, the metal silos can be very effective in reducing food loss. The nature of the silos makes it well suited for the long term storage of the food. Once the grains are properly dried, and then sealed into the silo, it can safely and easily store for a relatively long period. The structures themselves can last for an equally long time for over 15 years.

Food date labeling has been identified as one of the many strategies that can be in use for effective food storage. Principato, Secondi, &Pratesi(2015)claims, the “use by” and “sell by” are intended to provide the consumer with the necessary information on the freshness of the products in the market. However, this information can be confusing especially to consumers in terms of how long they should store the food and how long until they should dispose of the food. Principato, Secondi, &Pratesi(2015)also carried out some research in New York and  revealed that one fifth of the food perceived by the consumers as expired is due to labeling. When this happens, some food is still suitable for human consumption.

While some wastes may be legitimate due to food safety concerns, there is a need to reduce unnecessary food waste by a simple clarification of the meaning of these dates. The information usage can also be changed, including the mode of display and interpretation by the consumers. The confusion in the information provided is the issue with product dating, and somedifferent terms have been used to describe the dates. Some of the terms include, “sell by”, “best if used by” and “use-by” (Principato, Secondi, &Pratesi, 2015). These dates refer to the food quality of the food flavor as opposed to food safety. The measures used by the consumers that the consumption of the food after the date might potentially cause health issues to the consumers.

While the food that has passed its expiration date might be undesirable as compared to the newly acquired food, it is often still entirely safe for consumption. The misunderstanding might lead consumers to throw away food they think is no longer safe. New York State, through the necessary policies, should reduce the food date confusion by providing the necessary guidance needed by the consumers (Riches & Canadian Council on Social Development, 2008). The retailers should remove the “sell by” dates and replace them with “best before” dates to communicate food quality and then display the “use by” to communicate the food safety to the consumers. The guidance if followed by the manufacturers and retailers will serve to minimize considerable food loss and waste (Principato, Secondi, &Pratesi, 2015).

Additionally, the consumer awareness campaign is another initiative to bring the necessary information needed by the consumers to reduce food waste and loss. The behavior and attitudes of the consumers play a major role in food waste and losses (Bloom, 2010). Although changing the way people think and their corresponding behaviors is a tall order, communication campaigns can considerably influence the behavior of the consumers, especially at the household level.

There are some ways that can be used to make the consumers aware of the need to reduce food waste. The grocery retailers can be very instrumental to avail this information to the consumers. The direct interaction between them and the grocery store retailers can be a good avenue to passing on of the information. For example, in the United Kingdom, the Co-operative Group with more than 2,800 grocery stores across the United Kingdom has begun a program for the consumers (Leal Filho&Kovaleva, 2015). The group has begun to print tips for lengthening shelf life and improving the food storage for vegetables and fruits directly into the plastic bags in which customers place their purchases.

Consequently, the change is made to overcome consumer misconceptions and ignorance about the best storage practices and also assists the respective customers in increasing the shelf-life for their purchases. For instance, Morrison and Sainsbury, the third and fourth largest retailers in the United Kingdom have created the reduction campaigns for the consumers. The campaigns have highlighted the issue of food waste and loss for consumers who might be uninformed. They also provide the information to the customers to reduce food waste (Leal Filho&Kovaleva, 2015).

Also, food service providers and restaurants can work to reduce the food services. Large portions of food provision to consumers arehigher probability that food will be left. A mechanism for reducing the portion of consumers will both directly and indirectly decrease food waste and also save money for the food providers. The move might not be welcome by customers who will not enjoy the value for their money through such an action (Shepherd, 2012). Therefore, the restaurants and food providers should offer less food at fewer prices. Such a move will reduce waste and at the same give the customers value for their money.

The move will also be a relatively smaller adjustment for the many existing restaurants that already offer children’s menus with relatively smaller portion sizes. Furthermore, the restaurants could examine the amount and types of food more often left by the customers. The management of the restaurants can then make the necessary adjustments with regards to the information collected from the trends of food leftovers(Kazmi&Shuttleworth, 2013).

In a buffet cafeteria, the customers choose the amount of food they want (Allen & Wilson, 2012). However, the service operators nonetheless have the options to facilitate the reduction and minimize waste. One of the methods can be to post information to the customers for them to buy only the food they can manage to finish. Another method is for the service operators not to offer trays to the customers. Alternatively, the customers can pick plates directly from the counter. The approach greatly reduces hoarding.

Also, there is a need to accelerate and support collaborative initiatives to reduce food waste and loss. It requires the collaboration of the efforts of the different stakeholders in New York to reduce food loss. These partners include households, farmers, companies and policy makers (Pérez-Escamilla, 2012). It requires a change in behavior, technology, practices and policy. These factors demystify that no single individual can accomplish food waste management and tackle the problem. There is a need for collaboration (Hoornweg& Bhadra-Tata, 2012). The collaborative initiatives can provide so many benefits to the relevant stakeholders for reduction of the food loss. The initiatives can help build capacity within the entities that need to take on the ground action and reduce food waste.

Also, they can facilitate transferring and sharing of best practices and pitfalls. The initiatives can also inspire and motivate action among the members of the same course of reducing food waste. They can provide venues for joint problem solutions to the problems that no single entity can solve. Many factors are coming into play. For instance, the companies need to reduce food loss. The companies can finance solutions and also do consumer engagement in reducing the wastes (Gunders, 2015). While the move increases the profit margin for the company, it also acts to reduce waste within the operations of the company. The New York authorities can also finance efforts to reduce food waste, help raise awareness and also set the reduction targets. The intergovernmental organizations, researchers, and civil society can also share and identify the best practices, convene stakeholders and also provide technical assistance.

The women can play a great role in the reduction of the food that is lost through waste and extravagance. In New York too, and other parts of the world both in the developing and developed countries play an important role in food loss and waste. The women play a very vital role in the same because they interact with food at each stage of the chain from the farm to the fork. Research reveals that close to the fork women comprise between 85-90 percent of the time spent on the household in the food preparation (Hoornweg& Bhadra-Tata, 2012). Therefore, a target towards the women in food waste and losses in the campaign could result in greater reductions than pursuing any other unfocused campaign.

In one of the African countries, Tanzania, the gender target initiative focused on providing the female farmers with easy and greater access to markets. The initiative further supplied participants with quick access to solar drying technology that allowed for surplus fruits and other vegetables (Allen & Wilson, 2012). Without the solar technology, the food might have been lost and/or spoilt without proper drying and preservation. Another campaign in Australia, referred to as, “1 Million Women,” serves to encourage women to take action on some issues that affect the environment including the food waste reduction (Chen, 2014). The campaign held hosted several events with celebrities who raise awareness of food waste. They also post on the website of the respective campaign group with tips on how to reduce food waste and also recipes on how to use food efficiently.



The issue of food waste and loss is not a single person’s problem. It is not a New York City problem. It is a dragon that has made a loud outcry all over the world. As Katz & Weaver, (2003) clarify,the developed countries expend a lot of food to waste bins and landfills. There is too much food on the table,and this leads too much dumping. Research reveals that in the year 2030, because of the increased population, there will be twice as much as the current rates of food loss and landfills. The situations worsenevery day, the more population, the more food loss and waste. The more environmental degradation grows, more the effects to the ecosystem.

It is not solely the work of the state, neither the restaurants, farms, grocery stores, supermarkets nor any other body to undertake the measures to curb the problem. It is a collective responsibility from all quarters to ensure that any food available is well used and wholesomely consumed. Everyone must take a step in their position to advocate for the efficient use of food and its proper disposal (Lupton, Miller, & MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2010). The consumer at household levels, the retailers and supermarket attendants, the farmers and the authorities should come up together to take up a stand on food waste management.

Food waste in New York is a growing problem that requires proper mechanisms to handle it. The growing population is an indicator of the need for a system that can curb the problem years to come. Waste emanates from all corners of the city from restaurants, groceries, farms, and retail centers. The food waste affects the environment and also it is costly to spend on the food that will end up in bins. However, the problem can be tamed through various ways including proper waste and recycling systems. Moreover, there is a need for collective responsibility to correct the problem. All the stakeholders should come together as a team and address the issue. It is not an issue in New York alone, but a global problem.



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