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Green Team

The Beth Ahm Green Team is focused on sustainability awareness, education, and action.  Our current initiative is focused on eliminating food waste.  Not wasting food is an important Jewish value.  The mitzvah of Bal Tashchit (Deuteronomy 20:19-20) prohibits the destruction of fruit trees when besieging a city.  Furthermore, the Mishnah Torah applies the concept of ‘do not destroy’ to many things, including ruining food. 
Did you know, the U.S. produces the largest amount of food waste in the world. Consider these facts:
  • Collectively, the U.S. wastes 80 billion pounds per year.  We waste more than any other country, about 30-40%. 
  • That averages to 219 pounds per person, which is the equivalent of throwing out 650 apples.
  • For an average family of 4, approximately $1,600 worth of produce alone is trashed.  Think of what could be done with that money instead of throwing it out.
  • Food waste is 20% of landfill waste, the single largest component.  Food waste in landfills produces methane and nitrogen pollution, equivalent to the greenhouse emissions from 37 million cars.
  • The energies needed to produce, transport, and store the food that is being wasted is estimated to be 11% of the contribution to climate change. The USDA and EPA have a goal of reducing U.S. food waste in half by 2030.  
Luckily, we don’t have to wait until 2030 to take action.   We can start right now, in our own homes.  Consider these tips: 
  1.  Purchase ‘ugly’ produce. A good piece of produce that doesn’t look uniform is still a good piece of produce!  If it doesn’t sell, it goes to waste.
  2.  Pay attention to all of those confusing terms such as ‘sell by’, ‘use by’, ‘best before’, and ‘best by’.  Items may still be usable with those terms.  If there is an actual expiration date, use that as your guideline.
  3.  Pay close attention to your food purchasing habits.  Right now, inflation has forced us to do this, but the outcome is less wasted items.
  4.  Reuse and repurpose.  Start really using your freezer, look at discarded veggie peels as bases for soups, and be creative with leftovers.

Plastic water bottles are also a focus of the Green Team.  Click here to view information from Marty Rose about the impact of single-use plastic water bottles.  Marty also provides tactics about how you can reduce the negative impact of single-use bottles. 
Wed, June 19 2024 13 Sivan 5784