Breaking News
More () »

How much food waste do you generate? This UMaine experiment is helping raise awareness

The goal is to get Mainers to rethink how and by how much they're getting rid of food.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine — Students and faculty are challenging Mainers to take a closer look at their habits when it comes to throwing away their food with a month-long challenge. 

The Maine Home Food Waste Challenge runs throughout the month of January for challengers to collect their waste and survey how much they're throwing away on a weekly basis. 

According to the USDA, food waste makes up around thirty to forty percent of the total food supply.

Leading the challenge is Susanne Lee, faculty fellow of Food Resource Maine. 

She said the challenge is all about rethinking current relationships with food waste. 

"We could see even for our team, we had a lot, still more behavior changes to go through. But such a simple thing of collecting it and having to be face to face with it," Lee said. "Could we actually be keeping this as a leftover and eating this tomorrow? Could we actually make something else out of this that might be usable?"

One Mainer taking part in the challenge is librarian Kate Pickup McMullin, who said she was shocked at how much food we throw away each year.

"Learning the amount of food that's wasted, learning that a third of the food that we produce is not eaten...and that's shocking to think that there's water, there's labor, there's the fossil fuels to make it," McMullin said. 

As a part of the challenge, McMullin is saving her food waste for the week in a container to then weigh at the end of the week. 

Challengers then should use that baseline and try to reduce as much food waste as they can. 

As mindful as McMullin is being, she said reducing food waste still creeps up easily. 

Challengers can join in and sign up before January 15. 

More NEWS CENTER Maine stories

For the latest breaking news, weather, and traffic alerts, download the NEWS CENTER Maine mobile app.

Before You Leave, Check This Out