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litter signAn average of 20 to 30 percent of food is wasted even before it has a chance to reach a consumer’s table. The waste continues in the home and in restaurants and grocery stores, as foods spoil or go partially uneaten and then must be thrown away. New technological developments are helping to put a dent in food waste.

Foodstar App
The Foodstar app can be used on smartphones and tablets in order to help reduce waste in the food stream. This and other apps can be used by individuals to find fresh and boxed foods at grocery stores. Instead of throwing the foods away, they are priced at a considerable discount. Apps make it easier for consumers to locate the discounted goods so that they could stop at the store after work, buy the food and eat it that day for dinner.

Improved Technology for Harvesting and Transportation
Improved technology for crop harvesting and food production is also important to reducing food waste. Farmers can use hooks and baskets rather than plastic bags to hold freshly picked produce. This helps to prevent bruising of fruits. More efficient refrigeration helps to ensure that foods can be kept at the proper temperature until they are delivered to retailers or consumers.

Redistribution of Unsold Food
Food can be redistributed at many levels of the harvesting and production systems. Farmers can donate produce that has not been purchased by retailers. Retailers can also donate boxed, canned and frozen foods before they reach their expiration dates. Most food banks will accept these foods. There are also specialty grocers that sell food that is slightly past the “best if used by” date. Tracking technology allows distributors and retailers to identify which foods are close to the expiration dates and make sure that they are donated or sold at a steep discount rather than throwing them away.

Industrial Waste Compactor Technology
Some amount of food waste is inevitable. Pest infestations, food that is damaged by extreme weather and food found to be contaminated with bacteria or viruses such as E. coli or hepatitis A will need to be put into the waste stream. Advances in industrial waste compactor technology allow for damaged and contaminated foods to be compacted as much as possible so that they will take less room in the landfill. Some of the foods may also be compacted and used for biomass energy systems.

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