By Yvonne Aguirre
Produce clippings are the remnants of fruits and vegetables that have been peeled, chopped or cored. That is to say, they are the leftovers of peeled apples, tiny diced onions and coreless bell peppers found at your grocery store. And only until these past few decades, these remains have not been very significant except for disposal.
Well, shouldn’t we just throw away the leftovers anyway? It’s going to decompose all the same, right?
Yes, that is true, but when we are talking about bulks and bulks of fruit and vegetable remnants, the last thing anyone wants to do is send them off to a landfill. In fact, sending food to be disposed in landfills causes harm to all living and breathing things because when the food rots it turns into a very large foundation for methane emissions to accumulate. Considering this, we wouldn’t want this tremendously potent greenhouse gas to add on to global warming. I mean, it has 21 times more environmental harm than carbon dioxide!
But here is one solution (among many others) that has been working pretty well so far:
The cattle in California have been enjoying the produce clippings of apples, tomatoes, peas, carrots, mangoes, pineapples, grapes, and other fruits and veggies and even some leafy foods. Studies on the nutritional value of produce clippings show that there has been an improvement in maintaining a healthy diet for our cattle. Not only have the remnants been useful for our cattle and environment, but this also diverts the costs that would have been used in traditional cattle feed which is mostly made of grains.
There are many solutions to dealing with produce clippings such as composting for healthier soil, making biofuel, and even renewable energy. For more information, check out the EPA website and read all about what you could do to take part in conserving food waste.