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A truck driver with Gastonia's Solid Waste Division collects curbside garbage carts on a recent morning.

Food wastage is a massive problem, not only nationally, but globally as well. I have seen endless stories of men, women and children dying because of starvation and malnutrition. Even though most of the stories we hear are from third world countries, it’s slowly becoming a reality here. According to a 2010 United States Department of Agriculture survey, the annual food wastage is around $161 billion. Some countries have lower gross domestic products.

I was always taught to never waste food. If you are going out to a restaurant, order what you can. To-go boxes exist for a reason. I spend conservatively on food because I normally don't have a large appetite, and luckily it’s the same with my friends and family. But I always see neighboring tables with tons of wasted food.

The problem extends to campus as well. When I lived on campus and had a meal-plan, there were always plates full of food that were untouched and kept on the dish return rack. I even remember one time when workers put the wasted food into measuring jars to see how much food was being wasted. There were at least 10 to 15 jars filled to the brim.

Now, this predicament may seem large to tackle at first, but the approach is quite simple. All we need to do be aware of our habits and adjust some of our perspectives.

The easiest and most effective way is to try and gauge how much you can eat before ordering or preparing a meal. Try and not use those to-go boxes. This will not only help with food wastage, but also reduce the use of single-use plastic.

This method is especially good for college kids because we’re all on a budget and food can quickly become expensive. If you only order how much you can eat, you might end up saving some money too. No amount is too small.

On a larger scale, the university should look into ways food can be donated instead of thrown out. I’m not saying to donate left-over food students want to throw away. I’m saying if there is a surplus of cooked or uncooked food, we should donate to places that could benefit from it.

We need food to help sustain ourselves and for some people, figuring out what to have for dinner every day is a real challenge. Most of us are lucky enough that we can go out to buy groceries or McDonald’s, but not everyone can say the same. Food wastage is a problem that is easy to fix, we just need to help out a little.