By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Ever on the look out for signs of the times, we noticed the other day that “Waste News,” a trade publication covering the waste, salvage and recycling industries, has changed its name to “Waste & Recycling News“.

While we’ll miss the unintentional double entendre of the previous name, we welcome the signal that the world can’t consider its waste to be just waste anymore. Today, “scrap” or recyclables — stuff that could be re-crafted into something new or turned into biofuel or compost or PETE plastic parkas — is the new waste. This is a good thing.

And while we’re thinking about tossing less, let’s also consider our food and how much we well-fed Americans send to the waste bin — nearly 100 billion pounds of food annually, according to one report.

In Paula Minahan’s story, Food Indulgence in America: How Attitudes Weigh Us Down, professors who’ve studied the issue point out that Americans willingness to waste and penchant for filling plates to brimming is draining resources, and stretching waistbands.

You’ve no doubt heard about the problem of obesity in America. This story takes a step back and looks at how our cravings and sense of entitlement need to be unwound before we can free ourselves from this epidemic of overeating.

This is a story freighted with emotional issues. But it’s also one of those win-win green ideas: Watch your waste (and your waist) and you’re stepping more lightly on the planet while improving your health.

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