Idaho – Botswana

Idaho – Botswana

Kohler Clarity water filters are  a great water filter for classrooms due to their all in one designed nature. This ease of use makes it an ideal candidate for a location like a school where the design simplicity works to the benefit of its application. This was matched with the need for filters in a Botswana school where a clean water solution was needed.  

$1,000 of water filters we’re distributed to the school in Botswana all because of one Idaho school teachers willingness to engage her students with the global Water Crisis.  While researching Botswana for a unit that she would be teaching to her third grade class, she came across Connect For Water’s page on a pre-existing projects in Botswana.

She decided to contact Connect For Water About starting a new Champion project  to raise money water filters 4 school kids in Botswana. Her class raised $500 which the school matched for a total of $1,000 to be used for the purchase of water filters for Batswana school children.

Kgomodiatshaba Primary School was the decided upon destination for the twenty purchased Kohler Clarity filters based of off an identified need for clean water to become accessible in this area because they are a remote settlement with around 357 people. The filters were then brought to the community and are ready for use in the classroom of the primary school.

Water filters in schools

The access to clean and filtered water allows for students to develop their own abilities which translates to a more powerful and connected community.

The presence of these filters enables the development of the community further as kids have access to education without waterborne illness being an inhibiting factor in their development. Students can now have more consistent attendance because they won’t have to miss school due to the spread of waterborne illnesses, helping to increase potential and hope in the local community.

The effort one teacher made enabled a rural community to build its potential while helping in engaging distributors and business partners who all are working to get people sustainable solutions to accessing clean water.

215 Families Will Have Access To Clean Drinking Water in Peru

215 Families Will Have Access To Clean Drinking Water in Peru

This is a note I received from one of our partners, Larry Truitt. It’s a great story so I wanted to share it with all of you as we impact the world, families, and individuals through access to clean water.


Back in 1971, I was pastoring a mission church at Ft. Washakie, Wyoming on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The well water had a high content of alkaline and was not safe to drink. We hauled water from a community well three miles away. That was my first encounter with bad drinking water. When we moved back to Indiana I understood the importance of clean drinking water and became an advocate for clean water.

In 2010, I traveled to Belize with my oldest son. He travels all over the world doing building automation and has worked in over forty-five different countries. While in Belize we could not drink the water from the cisterns because of the various types of bacteria and parasites. When I came home from that trip, I started looking for some type of water filter system that would give people in countries where clean water is a problem, safe drinking water. After doing some research I decided that the Sawyer mini water filter was the best choice.

In 2017, a young couple came to our church and presented their mission work in Peru. One of the issues they were faced with was the lack of clean water. I felt that it was important to offer them a solution that would give them clean water. I contacted Business Connect and purchased 25 water filters and sent them to the mission in Peru. The water filters not only gave an entire village access to clean water but opened the door to several other villages. I started this project because I understand what it is like not to have clean safe water.

This project has become a community outreach program to raise money for water filters for the Peru mission project. At the Thorntown Festival of the Turning Leaves on September 28th this year local bluegrass musicians will provide entertainment, and the Sugar Plain Friends Church will provide food and all the proceeds will go to the purchase of water filters for the Peru mission project. It is our goal to raise enough money to purchase 100 water filters and buckets to be used in the Peru project. This will bring the total number of water filters sent to Peru to 215. That is 215 families that will have access to clean drinking water. Below is a picture of the last 40 filters sent.

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  • Research in-country/country-specific water needs (including Water and Sanitation Health)
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Waterbag Filtration Project For Urukundo and Kigali in Rwanda

Waterbag Filtration Project For Urukundo and Kigali in Rwanda

Preliminary Report on HSBC Bank Middle East Limited Funded

Waterbag Filtration Project For Urukundo and Kigali in Rwanda

Background information

Waterbag Filtration Project

According to a recent multi-country review by the World Health Organization from 54 low- and middle-income countries, 38 percent of health care facilities lack access to even rudimentary levels of water, 19 percent lack sanitation and 35 percent do not have water and soap for hand washing. The situation significantly worsens when looking for a higher standard of WASH coverage. Rural health care facilities are much worse off compared to districts and referral hospitals.

Specifically access to clean water is a challenge in many parts of Rwanda, and children are the ones who suffer most.

To reduce child mortality and to improve child well-being, Operation Give and Grow (OGG) partnered with DayOne Response and HSBC Bank Middle East Limited to provide Waterbags and purification packets that turns undrinkable/dirty water into safe drinking water. OGG prepositioned and deployed 252 DayOne WaterBags into communities for use in WASH initiatives and specifically to provide clean drinking water. This deployment was carried to improve existing practices in WASH as well as be integrated into additional OGG emergency deployments and areas with WASH challenges in the region.

Description of Assessment and Project

A needs assessment was carried out by OGG in specific areas of Rwanda and it became apparent that many disadvantaged families and children’s homes had challenges in getting safe drinking water because most water sources (especially shallow wells) and rivers had contaminated water. In October 2017, OGG entered into a partnership with DayOne Response to participate in a deployment of DayOne WaterBags funded by HSBC Bank Middle East Limited. OGG identified Urukundo and Suburbs of Kigali Rwanda were the areas most in need of WASH interventions.

Map of Rwanda

Rwanda Map shows Kigali in yellow

Equipment – DayOne Waterbag

The DayOne Waterbag, using the Procter & Gamble (P&G) Purifier of Water treatment packets, is an innovation designed to provide safe drinking water immediately following a disaster. The DayOne Waterbag delivers all four elements of a municipal water system: collection, transport, treatment, and protected storage. It is a 10-liter water backpack designed for use with P&G packets that are already distributed worldwide. The DayOne Watebags come with universal pictographic instructions that enable untrained individuals to convert muddy water into safe drinking water. As a backpack, it greatly decreases fatigue in hauling water long distances, and, inside the sealed bag, treated water is protected from recontamination. The DayOne Waterbag is primarily intended to bridge the gap between a disaster and the resurgence of traditional purification methods. It is intended for emergency use, such as after a flood or hurricane event.

Through the HSBC’s sponsorship, DayOne Response provided the 252 DayOne Waterbags to OGG and each product included:

DayOne Waterbag and attached filter, an initial 60 P&G Purifier of Water sachets (to treat a minimum of 600-liters of water), pictograph instructions to support training and packet cutter to open the P&G packets An additional 240 P&G Purifier of Water sachets are being supplied throughout the year to extend of use of the product. This enables families to have access to clean drinking water throughout the entire year via the DayOne Waterbag and sachet resupply.

Photo of the DayOne Waterbag


In October 2017 OGG carried out an orientation and basic training on the use of the DayOne Waterbag as part of the HSBC funding at the “children of God” children’s Home and Urukundo foundation Children’s home the orientation was provided to the Municipal representatives, Officials and community volunteers. The focus of the training was to ensure that the teams could demonstrate the use of the DayOne Waterbags to the wider community in emergencies but more so in areas challenged by lack of clean drinking water. As part of action points from the training, each home prepared a deployment plan for the DayOne Waterbags.

WaterDay Bag

Photo of school children learning

Volunteers were selected from each home to participate in an evaluation for the use of the DayOne Waterbag. The volunteers were expected to provide feedback regarding the usability of the DayOne Waterbags at household level. 252 DayOne Waterbags were distributed to the Children’s homes which accommodated over 1,000 individuals including local families, children and parents/guardians to those children at the homes. The new community volunteers were tasked with using the DayOne Waterbags in their households for day to day purposes.

OGG Approach

Described below is the distribution plan OGG utilized in the WASH program.

  1.  OGG identified four distribution centers all of which are children’s homes, three in Kigali and one in Urukundo namely The Urukundo Foundation.
  2. The deserving families within the locality assembled at the Children’s homes for
    training and distribution.
  3. A record of all beneficiaries was kept for the purpose of follow-up and for
    quarterly distribution of the P&G Sachets as indicated in no.4 below.
  4. The P&G sachets will continue to be distributed quarterly to enable prudent usage by each family or institution.
  5. OGG representatives in Rwanda are managing the quarterly distribution of the P&G
    Sachets on the ground and will continue to provide periodic reports on how the beneficiaries are utilizing the Waterbags.

Main Observations

The two areas where OGG distributed the Waterbags, the Kigali suburbs and the Urukundo foundation had the following feedback.

  1. Within the suburb of Kigali the villagers who attended the demo and were interviewed described the lack of safe drinking water. For many of the villagers the only key source of the drinking water was a highly contaminated river where they drew their demo sample from. Indeed, many of the school children and their parents shared that they had developed stomach problems due to the challenges of the water and some contaminated wells.
  2. OGG personally interviewed one of the educators in a children’s home and they communicated that this Waterbag project was very timely and a God send for them to be able to obtain clean domestic water from the river (which is actually next to the Children’s home) since it is one of the greatest needs at the school. Besides this they have had to put up with taking water from a well within the compound, in which the water is very saline.
  3. When OGG collected the water from the river and conducted the Waterbag purification process those who tasted the water immediately commented that the water was much sweeter and softer. This was a most remarkable transformation before their very eyes. The village coordinator and Educator took time to immediately plan how they could effectively spread the word to many area dwellers who have settled on consuming the water from the river without purifying and filtering it now that they now had an alternative. They felt that the DayOne Waterbag was an eye opener and a true blessing.

    Louisa an Educator in charge of a children’s home which houses over 150 children and also one of the recipients of the Watebags had this to say about the project:

    “Thank you for the Waterbags that you have donated to us and the community. We are sure that your deeds are a good example even to our benefactors. By helping you not only give prosperity but also joy and hope. Your help is a priceless contribution to charity and undoubtedly appreciable support to the disadvantaged and the needy. Thank you for your care, compassion and mercy, and for the contribution you have made to transform our society. God Bless You.”

  4. At Urukundo, the Village coordinator and the children’s home received the DayOne Waterbags with much appreciation and great expectation. The demonstration amazed many of those present as the initial untreated water was highly discolored prior to start of the treatment and the end result was pure, clean and safe drinking water.

Hygiene and Behavior Change

OGG utilized behavior change framework tools to move people from knowledge to practice. These tools helped identify critical barriers and enabling factors to behavior change and helped develop a practical plan to move a priority group toward sustained practice of a desired WASH-related behavior such as repeated use of the DayOne Waterbag. In Rwanda the primary target was children’s homes which educated the children on the importance of hygiene and behavior change. Following the OGG and DayOne Response program the children have become passionate advocates of the need for clean drinking water and a strong influence on their parents too.

Social Inclusion

Under the WASH program, social inclusion empowered people to take advantage of the Waterbags. OGG particularly focused the program on children including those with disability and gender inclusion.

Many of the families affected by challenges of clean drinking water were largely drawn from economically disadvantaged homes or households hence the need for OGG to place special focus on them during the program.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Education

OGG program in children’s homes and primary schools included training community resource people from schools and local institutions who spearheaded school sanitation and hygiene programs. This work helped to improve access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in schools and help reduced diarrhea and respiratory diseases among schoolchildren. These students also helped as agents of change to reinforce good hygiene and sanitation behaviors at home. Through key local educators OGG’s program empowered both teachers and students to promote important hygiene behaviors.


On behalf of the communities of Urukundo and Kigali in Rwanda OGG would like to thank HSBC for supporting to Fund this program.

From the feedback received on the ground in Rwanda after the distribution of the 252 watebags we have only touched far less than 1% of the families that require this intervention in the country. Hence, there is a great need to fund similar projects particularly in Eastern Rwanda and beyond to effectively reach out to deserving families across the country.

At OGG, our target is to reach at least 200,000 people cumulatively within the East African Region. We therefore require a minimum of 50,000 Waterbags and a one year supply of P&G Purifier of Water packets. This will help support at least 50,000 families across the East African Region. Rwanda, Kenya , Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi are among the areas of focus. Through our collaboration with DayOne Response Inc. and through funding support from HSBC we can reach the above target and ultimately make a significant and memorable impact on health and well-being of thousands of children and families.


Photos of the Waterbag distribution and use in Urukundo and Kigali.

Waterbag Filtration Project

Children wait curiously on the opposite side for the 30 minutes administering and shaking the P&G sachet into the contaminated water.

Opening the P&G Purification of Water Packet.

Emptying the P&G Purification Packet into the Waterbag.

Demonstration of the Waterbag to school children.

The school children were very curious to learn.

WaterDay Bag Filtration

Distribution of the Waterbags

Hanging the Waterbag with the hooks.

The school children were very curious to learn.

Demonstrating how to clean the Waterbag.

Simple Ways To Help The People Next Door…And Around The World

Simple Ways To Help The People Next Door…And Around The World

In recent decades, major advancements in technology have enabled people to be in constant contact with one another, communicating across the globe in seconds. We can watch world news happening in real-time, answer a question instantly, or share an exciting event with our families and friends with just the click of a button.

When a disaster strikes another country, we are instantly aware of it, with social media updates flooding our timelines. When someone is in need, we know about it quickly. We are connected to each other in unique ways never before possible.

Technology offers amazing opportunities to solve some of humanity’s most critical issues, and yet dependence on it hasn’t had such a positive result. Instead, we’ve become more isolated and disconnected at both the local and global level.

“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backward.” – Aldous Huxley

Societies are becoming more divided, governments are looking inward for their own solutions, and we’re losing our sense of charitable duty toward each other. We have forgotten what it means to be loving, kind, and generous. In all the social media updates, we’ve forgotten how to be humans who care about each other.

But despite finding ourselves in an environment of ever-increasing apathy and self-centeredness, there are actually a multitude of ways to generate a positive impact through practicing altruism, showing compassion, and most importantly, by taking real action.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Step #1: Look Around

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Before you come up with an elaborate plan to achieve world harmony, take a look at the community you live in and formulate ways that you can make a positive contribution. Before you try to change the world, look at your own neighborhood.

A small effort can quickly grow into a remarkable movement, and by starting at the local level, you’ll establish relationships along the way with like-minded fellow citizens that also want to give something back.

Consider the case of Ryan Hreljac, creator of the Ryan’s Well Foundation, which raises money to drill wells for impoverished communities lacking adequate sources of drinking water. Ryan began his effort to help others as a young student in elementary school by raising $2,000 to build a single well in Uganda. Sixteen years later, he now runs a widely recognized non-profit that works to provide access to clean water in communities across the African continent and elsewhere.

Ryan’s work and the success of his foundation prove that one person, with one idea and the right kind of dedication, can start a movement at the local level that ultimately has a global impact and improves the daily lives of thousands of people.

“I think the important thing when I was a kid was that I recognized that I could try to do something small and get engaged. And even though I didn’t have all the answers and didn’t come from a position of affluence or knowledge …I had the optimism to do something small and that ended up making a big difference.” – Ryan Hreljac (Source)

One of the easiest, most obvious ways to make an immediate difference is through volunteering. Nearly every community has a need for volunteers of all different types. Hospitals usually have opportunities for students to help deliver mail and gifts to patient rooms, pass out trays at mealtimes, or help with tasks like changing sheets and blankets.

Non-profit community centers like homeless shelters or women’s homes need people to contribute with housekeeping, serving food to their residents and helping new occupants adjust and integrate into the facility.

Ministries frequently work side-by-side with shelter groups and your local faith-based organization can assist in finding out exactly what needs your community has and how you can best volunteer.  Beyond that, local police and fire departments need citizen enforcers and volunteer firefighters to keep the peace while public schools and libraries frequently struggle to stay within their budgets and will often take all the help they can get.

Step #2 – Start Raising Funds For The Needy

Fundraising is another great way to help the community and promote global citizenship.  Money can be raised in all kinds of ways and for many different causes and reasons.

For example, you might encourage students to start a local scholarship fund for their peers by collecting donations outside of grocery stores or other businesses. Starting an annual drive for coats, shoes, or general clothing is an excellent way to help others in need and some communities have even started a collection for outdated eyeglasses or loose change.

Donation drives place unwanted items into the hands of people that need them and actually have a positive impact on the environment by keeping those donated items from out of the garbage and the local landfill.

Step #3 – Be A Mentor

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You can use the skills from your experience, education, or job to find ways to teach and mentor within the community. Career professionals might establish community workshops for teaching things like CPR, public safety, literacy, or computer skills.

Teachers and college professors might offer classes for English speakers to learn another language or to teach English to non-native speakers.  Even if you don’t have a degree or special training, you might still be a great communicator that could mentor at-risk children in afterschool programs or participate in parenting or family support groups.

Step #4 – Help Promote Wellness 

The need for public service is driven by the concept of the common good, or what is in the best interest of everyone involved. In recent years, neighborhoods and communities nationwide have struggled with the health and wellness of their populations and the trend has been moving too fast in the wrong direction.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle has immediate and long-term benefits to society and significantly impacts the viability of the population as a whole.

As of 2016, The American Heart Association reports that “childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.” (Source)

What are some simple ways you can help? Try inviting neighbors to participate in group activities that get you more active. Donate your time teaching yoga, strength training, or even martial arts if you’re already embracing a healthy lifestyle.

Consider starting a nutrition education program or neighborhood farming cooperative to help people learn about how to grow and build a diet full of nourishing foods.

Finally, working with city council boards or non-profit entities to provide mobile services like immunization clinics or veterinary care brings access to much-needed services directly to people without the means or transportation to access them. Lack of healthcare, nutrition, and physical exercise are major social problems in modern society and implementing measures to combat them will make a huge and potentially lifelong difference in your local community.

Step #4: Look Globally

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At the worldwide level, it can be difficult to devise ways of making a positive contribution and improving global society but it is possible to find ways of reaching out to both individuals and whole communities.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

People all over the world need someone to talk to. You can start out simply by finding a pen pal that you can converse with via traditional mail, e-mail, or even social media.  Plenty of young people lack access to modern technology and offering them a friendly ear and a means to learn about the world outside of their own can be incredibly rewarding on both sides.

Beyond that, finding ways to communicate online with people on the other side of the world exposes you to different cultures, new information, and charitable causes, helping you develop a more open-minded and global perspective.

Step #5: Connect With Organizations Making A Difference

Fundraising at the national or international scale might seem daunting and like a task better suited for large charities and non-government organizations. The truth is that our modern world of constant connectedness gives individuals the same power to raise awareness campaigns as entities like the Red Cross and United Nations.

Web platforms for crowdsourcing funds (like Kickstarter or GoFundMe) give one person the ability to set a goal and start a movement that anyone can then contribute to. Social media services (like Facebook and Twitter) offer a means to get the word out on a global scale.

These technologies put the fundraising power that was previously reserved for large organizations into the hands of ordinary people who can then accomplish something extraordinary.

If you’re more interested in getting up from the computer to make a more hands-on positive impact, volunteering to work for government groups like The Peace Corps that focus primarily on social and economic development outside the United States would be great for someone that feels passionately about class inequality and equal access to opportunity.

Likewise, if you’re on a mission to minimize the negative impacts of climate change, organizations like Greenpeace or The Nature Conservancy are excellent non-profit volunteer groups.

Finally, if poor access to healthcare and lack of medicine in other parts of the world drives your desire to give back, consider supporting charitable professional associations like Doctors without Borders (a.k.a. Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF) and UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Joining a humanitarian or peacekeeping organization can be an extremely fulfilling way of participating in important international efforts while exercising responsible global citizenship.


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Regardless of how you choose to engage in activism, participation in local and national elections by exercising your right to vote is, by far, the most effective way to shift national and international policy and each individual has a civil obligation to participate in the democratic process.

As of the 2016 American election, just over half of eligible Americans participated in voting and the United States ranks twenty-eighth on the list of thirty-five member nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (Source) We, as local residents, as national citizens, or as global humanity, don’t deserve positive change if we aren’t also willing to embrace the democratic process alongside social activism and participate in electing the right leaders for effective social evolution.

“A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case, he is justly accountable to them for the injury.” – John Stuart Mill

5 Ways Wasting Food Hurts the Environment (and 5 Ways You Can Fix It)

5 Ways Wasting Food Hurts the Environment (and 5 Ways You Can Fix It)

Five Ways Wasting Food Hurts the Environment (and Five Ways To Fix It)

It’s the secret shame of many Americans: The half-forgotten (or wholly forgotten) perishables in your refrigerator and pantry that have been overlooked, uneaten, and are now turning pretty colors or else giving off the fragrance of a corpse.

Those of us who feel pangs of guilt and upset over wasted food are sadly in good company: Some estimates reveal that Americans waste as much as 60 million tons of food a year (for various reasons, some simply because of extremely high standards set by American stores)! Given the plight of world hunger, this fact is shameful enough, but what many of us may not realize is that wasted food also has a harmful effect on the environment.

So that we might be better stewards of the earth we have been given, here are five biggest ways wasted food hurts the environment—and five ways we can combat this problem and make it better for millions of people worldwide.

1. It Wastes Water

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Water is essential to life, and it’s no surprise it’s essential to food production as well. Whether from irrigation, spraying, pouring, or some other means, water is essential to the growing of agriculture, not to mention the feeding of animals that give us our meat, fish, and dairy.

But in throwing out millions of tons of food, we also waste uncounted millions of gallons of water that was used to plant, grow, sustain, or otherwise produce it.

Fruit and vegetables are among the most water-laden food products, simply because they contain more water. (For example, one bag of apples is about 81% water!) But meat products are the heaviest water users, simply because the animals drink a lot of water—and more importantly, because so much water is needed for the grain that becomes their feed! It takes about 8 to 10 times more water to produce meat than grain.

All told, if the 1.3 billion tons of food wasted worldwide each year is accurate, most estimates place the water “in” that amount to be 45 trillion gallons—or 24 percent of all water used for agriculture. And remember that 70% of the world’s freshwater is used for agriculture!

2. It Releases Methane

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When food is thrown out, it eventually makes its way to landfills (which can themselves be a problem for the environment). As that food begins to decompose or rot, it releases methane gas.

Methane, of course, is a greenhouse gas, which many scientists believe adversely affects the earth’s climate and temperature (i.e., climate change/global warming). Here’s why the millions of tons of food wasting in American landfills should concern you:

  • Methane is more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2—about 25 times more effective.
  • Methane accounts for about twenty percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Much methane, as well as other adversely-affective gases, has already been released in the production process. The wasted food is now adding to that.

Less wasted food means we release less methane gas, which is way better for the environment.

3. It Wastes Oil

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This is another “production” side of the waste epidemic. Here’s what I mean:

  • Oil, diesel, and fossil fuels are required to grow, transport, store, and cook food. Think of the harvesting machinery that has to be powered, the vehicles taking the food from the farm to the warehouse to the store, the further machinery that is used to sort, clean, package, or otherwise prepare the food just so it can be bought. Much of this machinery requires massive amounts of oil, diesel, and other fuels to function.
  • To waste millions of tons (in America) or billions (worldwide) each year also means that all of the oil and fuel that has gone into the production of said food is wasted.
  • Moreover, using that fuel in the first place can release harmful amounts of greenhouse gases into the environment, combined with the other harmful amounts released from the decomposing food already in landfills, and all of the future decomposing food that will yet be wasted.

Wasting fuel and oil both at the front (production) and the back (decomposition) end by not eating the food we purchase has a hidden but costly impact on the environment!

4. It Wastes Land

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Land use as regards food falls into two main categories: The land used for production, specifically the crops and grassland used in the actual growing (or raising, in the case of livestock), and the land used for retaining food that has been thrown out.

Unsurprisingly, the irresponsible use of food products has an adverse impact on the physical land itself.

If you recall your high school science classes, you may have heard the terms arable land and non-arable land. This simply means land that can grow crops (arable), or land that cannot (non-arable). This factor is important for evaluating how food waste affects land.

Most of the land needed to produce milk and meat is non-arable (think meadows, fields, etc.). It’s perfect for livestock, but terrible for growing crops. But most of the food wasted worldwide, regardless of the type of land, is meat.

About 900 million hectares of non-arable land are used in the production of the world’s meat products. Moreover, when you count all of the land needed to produce other foods, like the millions of pounds of fruits and vegetables we waste each year, the use of land skyrockets.

This would not be a problem in itself. However, the problem lies in both the waste of the food (so the land is being used for an ultimately pointless purpose) and the fact that land, if not cared for, loses its ability to yield over time—called degradation. Eventually produces far less than can sustain the people living in the region.

Statistics have revealed (page 47 in link) that when looking at food waste at the production stage, about 99% of the waste occurs on land with extremely high levels of degradation—which puts undue stress on land that has already worked hard to produce food for us!

5. It Harms Biodiversity

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“Biodiversity” is simply a fancy word for the diversity of life in an ecosystem or environment—the full spectrum of life across different species and kinds of organisms. This is a hidden but real cost of food waste: it decimates biodiversity in a number of ways:

  • Deforestation, especially in tropical areas, destroys natural flora and fauna (sometimes to the point of extinction), in the name of creating more land for food production.
  • To increase production of livestock, natural land is turned into pastures, which besides the aforementioned deforestation also impacts biodiversity by the increase of livestock; the more livestock graze and range on an area, the less natural and diverse the area becomes.
  • Marine fisheries are a large culprit in the decimation of marine ecosystems and natural habitats, often resulting in “overexploited” areas or stocks (indeed, the ten most caught species of fish all have been labeled as “overexploited”). Fish are caught with little thought given to how the rapid depletion of population will impact their environments. These fish then get thrown out by the consumer, or rejected by stores for not meeting certain standards, or rot in the truck because of lack of modern refrigeration (in developing nations).

Other ways food production may impact biodiversity have either not been studied or the links between the depletion and the production are not yet clear. Still, it’s one thing to impact the land to create food that is then scrupulously used. It is another thing entirely to impact the land so drastically (sometimes unnecessarily) for food that will be largely wasted.

How can people combat this problem of wasting useable food? Here are five of the most common ways:

1. Use Restraint

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Americans especially have lost this ability (but really, anyone in a reasonably wealthy country can succumb to it). But making the effort to plan meals, to keep detailed and thoughtful shopping lists, and avoiding buying things on impulse will go a long way to not even bringing food into your home that will end up being thrown out.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Disobey the “Sell By” Date

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These are not federally regulated in the United States and do not mean anything about the food’s safety for consumption (unless it’s baby food, in which case it should be heeded). Rather, it is a notation from the manufacturer that denotes the food’s peak quality. “The “use-by” date is more important: eat food by that date or find out if it can be frozen.

3.  Really Use Leftovers

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Some of us are good at doing this already. There are many ways to be creative and ingenious with the things you served the night before. You can turn one meal into a completely different one if you simply know a few things about recipes and common ingredients.

4. Don’t forget scraps

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Did you know there are lots of ways to creatively use the scraps of vegetables and other products (think celery leaves, the tops of beets and other veggies, chicken bones, etc.)? You can use them for flavoring, soup stock, even whole meals. You can read this article and this one for tons of ideas for incorporating the oft-forgotten parts of food.

5. Do Your Research

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Do you have a leftover amount of an ingredient for a recipe? Instead of throwing out what’s left, research ways to incorporate it into further meals (like here, here, or here).

Here are further ways to avoid wasting food.


Food waste is a real problem, and it doesn’t have to be. While the loss of food due to poor harvesting or other methods in developing countries is its own issue, the millions of tons of wasted food in our nation often, though not always, lie with the consumer. Creative, careful, and thoughtful shopping, cooking, and consumption will go a long way to responsibly using the food we have and can even make a path to fullness for the millions of people worldwide who are hungry.

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