According to the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services, the average person in Mecklenburg County generates about 1,600 pounds of garbage each year, and a lot of it is food.

Americans literally throw away billions of dollars on wasted food with the typical family tossing out about $640 worth of food annually. Not only is wasting food bad for your wallet, but it’s also bad for your health.

Research conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency indicates that food waste is the “largest stream of materials in American trash.” As this discarded food rots away in the local landfill, it creates methane gas and leache causing pollution to our air, soil and water. The EPA estimates that food waste accounts for 23 percent of all methane gas emissions into the atmosphere. This pollution has been linked to a number of chronic health problems including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes among others.

“There is a direct connection between your health and the environment,” says Denada Jackson, Public Information Officer for City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services.

The good news is there is something you can do about it.

“One way to improve personal and environmental health is to manage waste better,” Jackson says. “Solid Waste Services is teaching citizens practical ways to better manage waste through the Healthy Communities program, which uses educational games, school presentations, special events, cooking classes, tours, and the Food Too Good To Waste Challenge to educate and inspire change in waste behaviors.”

This summer, you are invited to join the Healthy Communities Squad in learning more about upcycling, reusing, recycling and composting. Please join us at the next event:

Proper Food Preparation and Storage class and Food Too Good to Waste Challenge Introduction
Thursday, October 26
6:30 – 8 p.m. @ Solid Waste Services (1105 Otts Street)
Food not being consumed before it spoils accounts for two-thirds of all household food waste. Join Healthy Communities for this class, and learn how to prepare and store your food properly to minimize your food waste. Plus, get a chance to sign up for the Food Too Good to Waste Challenge and win prizes. Register

Be sure to visit The Healthy Communities website for delicious recipes, fun facts and information about upcoming events and contests.