Each April 22 since 1970, the beginning of the modern environmental movement is celebrated by more than one billion people worldwide. Known as Earth Day, the occasion was originally started as a response to air pollution that resulted from the consumption of leaded gas emitted into the environment by inefficiently constructed cars.

At that time, air pollution was viewed simply as being prosperous enough to be able to afford large luxury cars. Americans were largely unaware of the serious environmental challenges that are faced today and how those challenges threaten the planet. Today, Earth Day gives voice to growing concerns about steps that can be taken to protect the Earth’s environment for the benefit of all living creatures.

Of all the modern Earth Day concerns, one is particularly mentioned and widely publicized because of how widespread it is, and that issue is food waste. Not only does it lead to food insecurity, but also leads to environmental impact both in terms of production and disposal.

Stopping Food Waste Before It Begins

Food waste has a tremendous adverse impact on the earth’s environment and affects issues of sustainability. The estimated 80 billion pounds of food that the United States wastes each year equals approximately forty percent of the country’s overall food supply.

In addition to environmental issues, food waste also puts a strain on the economy. The country spends hundreds of billions of dollars cultivating, processing, and throwing away food that is never consumed. In fact, the US spends close to ten percent of its energy budget transporting that same food that winds up in landfills. It stands to reason that if more food could be preserved, the less waste there would be overall. 

So how can we reduce food waste? Bluezone technology uses ultraviolet light and ozone to kill agents such as mold, bacteria, and ethylene and works to give fruits and vegetables longer shelf lives.

The Bluezone Model 300 model works well in reach-in coolers by extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. It not only keeps them fresh longer, but it also maintains their high quality and eliminates flavor transfer between the different food items.

The Bluezone Model 2400 uses patented ultraviolet-enhanced oxidation technology to destroy biological impurities and chemicals in the air. It removes the ethylene that tends to build up inside large refrigerated spaces that typically store vegetables and fruits. The prolonged shelf life helps cut down on food waste.

Food Waste Case Study: Strawberries

A recent study was conducted to determine how strawberries would fare using Bluezone technology compared to those using refrigeration without Bluezone technology. Methodology and sampling were based on strawberry test methods conducted by researchers at the Plant Sciences Department at UC Davis and the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. The study concluded that the strawberries stored with Bluezone technology had a longer shelf life than those stored in conventional refrigeration. The strawberries that were stored using Bluezone technology for ten days also showed fewer signs of deterioration, such as molding, ripening, and foul odors than those stored under refrigeration without Bluezone technology.

Earth Day and Food Sustainability

Through the educational efforts of Earth Day participants, more consumers are beginning to understand the link between Earth Day and food sustainability, as well as their own impacts on the environment and how to improve the situation.  An important point made is that foods with longer shelf-life help eliminate food waste and coincide with the growing demand for sustainability.

The Bluezone Technologies used to prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables can considerably reduce the carbon footprint that humans leave on the planet. Food preservation reflects the concerns of people who are trying to make a difference.