Guest blog by Ella Diamond of Food Waste 4 Thought
Have you ever tossed out a mushy, old head of lettuce, thinking that it’ll break down
within a few days or a week? It’s only lettuce, you think to yourself. It’s natural, so it must not
take too long to decompose. Shockingly, landfill excavations have found instances of it taking 25 entire years for a head of lettuce to decompose! When food gets dumped in landfills, it tries to break down, but it doesn’t have the available oxygen, causing it not only to remain intact, but also to release methane gas
into the atmosphere. This greenhouse gas, more potent than carbon dioxide, makes food
waste a main contributor to climate change as it accounts for the largest source of municipal
waste in landfills. Meanwhile, a staggering one third of food produced worldwide is wasted when this
food could be feeding all of the world’s food insecure individuals.