Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Paul Faulstich

Reader 2

Susan Phillips

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Mariel Nunley


This thesis focuses on the creation and disposal of food waste in the United States. Food waste is a specific yet highly critical issue that implicates the large, incongruous systems of both food production and waste disposal. Waste is created throughout the food supply chain, with producers as well as consumers guilty of throwing away good food. Rather than repurpose food as compost or donate it to those in need, wasted food, although completely biodegradable and often edible, is mixed in with the rest of our garbage and disposed of in a landfill. By evaluating the systems of waste disposal and food production, I illustrate the ways in which both of these industries encourage the creation of food waste and conceal its harmful effects. I argue that it is necessary to prioritize source reduction of wasted food, rather than rely upon infrastructure that keeps waste “out of sight, out of mind.” Despite the factors that shelter it from our critical consideration, it has become necessary to prioritize food waste as a legitimate environmental, social, and economic concern.