Why Food Waste Should Be Penalized.

Food waste is an extremely prevalent problem in our society. According to the FDA, “In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30–40 percent of the food supply. “[1] . That’s nearly half of all food going straight to the bin. This much food could be used to feed hungry people all over the world. If a redistribution network is made, people are less likely to go hungry. However, this is not happening and there are still millions of Americans that are food insecure. “Almost fifty million people are food insecure in the United States, which makes food insecurity one of the nation’s leading health and nutrition issues.” [2] It is extremely important for us to take action. Many people will probably ask if food waste can be banned. The term food waste is kind of ambiguous. Should food that has a bite taken out of it be considered waste or should is be considered food waste if you don’t even touch it. Food waste is undesirable but is quite unenforceable, so in this essay we will focus on the more important aspects of the argument, the moral implications of food waste will be discussed here. While food wasting is very hard to enforce, it will deter people and businesses from wasting lots of food. France seems to have mitigated the problem of food waste by passing a law against it. France has passed a law stating that the destruction of edible food is forbidden.[3] They are required to look for a charity to donate food to. This has made France waste much less food than it did before. A similar law could be implemented in the United States. Giving food to people in need will lower grocery bills and ensure food security. If you do not give out food, there is a high chance someone will go hungry somewhere. If you allow people to waste a little bit of food, food wastage could turn into a slippery slope. If people think it is okay to waste food that is not spoiled or suitable for consumption we could end up in a situation where people would throw out food due to slight imperfections such as blemishes on apples, brown spots on bananas, and so on, People could also be encouraged to choose unhealthy foods over healthy foods, as too much choice takes a toll on your eating habits. With this, people could develop food addictions or aversions. In short, if you allow people to waste food, people will surely waste it and prefer tastier unhealthy foods. Donuts are much tastier than sandwiches or pasta, so they are preferred over foods such as broccoli, carrots, or corn.
There are also many reasons why we should not ban food waste. People should have the choice to eat what they want. It is important for them to eat what we want within reason. You should not be forced to eat a banana skin or something that is uncomfortable to eat. You should not have to eat rotten food or food not meant for human consumption. However, we will not be banning all food waste. Some things are just not edible such as banana skins and bones. While all this is true, the food can still be put to use. Leftover food that is completely inedible can be used as compost. In fact this is what is happening already. According to the EPA, “Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away, and could be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.” [4]. There are three kinds of ingredients for compost and they are brown matter, dead leaves and branches, green matter which consists of fruit and vegetable skins and rotten fruits, and finally water, a crucial element in any compost. Since we are arguing against food waste we do not have to give away this food, we could simply turn it into compost. Food that is fresh but won’t sell can be given away. Food that is rotten can be turned into compost.  It’s a win win for consumers and stores. Stores save money because they do not have to buy as many products and consumers get free food occasionally.

According to Kant’s utilitarianism, this would be the right thing to do. If we were to give people free food when they need it people could save money be less food insecure and thus happier.  If our goal is to maximaize happiensss we should be giving food away. It is very important that we do so. Doing this will be very important. Giving free food to people will reduce peoples expenses, which they can then save in order to invest which will benefit the economy and the collective good of all the people. 


[1] https://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/food-loss-and-waste 

[2} https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/pdf/10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0645 

[3] https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01967933/document
[4] https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home

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