One way to reduce food waste: Use it to make soil healthier

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Imagine that one-third of cars manufactured by Ford or GM were never even driven once, but instead were left to rust and ended up in landfills. This exact situation is true today in agriculture, where up to 40 percent of food produced every year in the United States is never eaten (PDF).

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the United States generates over 39 million tons of food waste yearly. Strawberries rot on the vine for lack of labor to pick them. Food spoils during transport, at the grocery store or in our homes. More is lost during processing, due to inefficiencies and lack of markets for byproducts.

Food waste contains valuable nutrients that can make soil healthier and more productive. Our research group at Colorado State University is working with Leprino Foods, a global supplier of dairy products, to explore the potential for transforming lactose — the natural sugar in milk — into a resource that can enhance agricultural sustainability.

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