Leftover Legacy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


      Food -what a joy, right? Thank goodness for refrigeration, ovens and food! But whathappens to leftovers? I know - they get wasted. But why, when there are otherthings that can be done with them?

Food is wasted all the time. Peopleshop for groceries and buy as much as they think they need. Then they leave foodin the fridge past the expiration date, throw it out and buy more!

Andhow about schools? A girl in the lunch line grabs everything: the apple, theentree, the chips and the veggies. When she gets to her table, she throws awayeverything except the apple. Time out! How can we sit here and say we never wastefood?

Where does your leftover food go? The trash? And where does yourtrash go? To landfills, or incinerators. But, according to www.oldgrowth.org,these practices are "not environmentally or economically sound. Yard wastewhich is landfilled breaks down very slowly due to the lack of oxygen. As itdecomposes, it produces methane gas and acidic leachate, which are bothenvironmental problems."

People just don't care enough about theenvironment. There was that huge confrontation about wasting trees for paper;well, here we are wasting land for our trash, which is 30 percent food(www.maineenvironment.org)! So if we had a huge problem with wasting space forpaper, something that we need, let's think about why we're wasting space forsomething we don't need.

There are plenty of other ways to use your foodinstead of just throwing it away. Composting is helpful for the community and theenvironment. Go to any composting website, and you'll find that something as easyas putting your food waste into a pile in the backyard and adding worms helps theenvironment. With the decomposed material, you can fertilize your flower andvegetable gardens, or even houseplants.

So what can you compost? Fruit andvegetable peels, tea bags, coffee grounds, bread and eggshells are all great.Beyond the kitchen, grass, hay, leaves, manure, straw, weeds, wood chips andsawdust can also be composted. It's important to avoid chemically-treated wood,animal waste, diseased plants, meat, bones and fatty food.

Food is awonderful thing. Most of us are lucky to have plenty of it, yet we waste so much.Why not get involved and save the world from food waste? Don't waste food,compost it!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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