Find a solution to food waste

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To the Editor:

Food is essential. Humans, quite literally, require it to survive. Every day, we prepare an absurd amount of meals, indulge in them, then inevitably throw away a notable portion of said meals. In fact, the average American produces approximately one pound of food waste daily. Considering there are more than 300 million American citizens, this equates to 133 billion pounds — 160 billion USD — every year, proving America to be the second largest producer of food waste in the world. Sadly, these numbers are only growing. Between 1990 and 2015, there was a 60 million ton increase in our food waste production. That’s 120,000,000,000 pounds. To put it lightly, this needs to change.

On our Island, there is not much room for unnecessary waste. To give some perspective, the food wasted by Americans in 2018 would stretch across 46,875 square miles — roughly 535.8 Martha’s Vineyards combined. It’s a good thing, then, that this uneaten food can be transformed into something useful. This particular type of waste happens to make for excellent compost, and the plethora of farms and gardens on M.V. could always benefit from some free soil.

So here’s my proposal: a multitude of composters strewn around the Island in easily accessible locations. Imagine, a box containing an amalgamation of rotting banana peels and Black Dog muffins, sitting tastefully beside one of many overflowing trash cans in Vineyard Haven. Passersby can simply empty their leftovers into the box, give it a few spins to mix up the new materials, then carry on with their everyday business. And, over time, their food waste will become organic compost that anyone can stop by and collect for personal use. With this method of sustainability, everyone wins: those who can never finish their gigantic La Choza burritos, our beloved local farmers, and planet Earth itself.

Menasha Leport
Aquinnah