By Rick VanVranken, Agricultural and Resource Management Agent, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County
August “Augie” Wuillermin, co-owner/operator with his brother, Ed Jr., of Ed Wuillermin & Sons Farm in Hammonton, NJ turned in disgust and grumbled, “Some days I just have to stay out [of the packing house] when the peppers come in this way. It’s sickening. Seems like such a waste!”
Is waste an opportunity lost?
Economists talk about ‘opportunity cost’, loosely defined as the value of something that must be given up in order to do something else. Every resource has alternative uses, so every choice has opportunity cost(s).
Waste comes into play when the investment of time, energy and labor does not create the intended outcome and the alternatives do little to cover those costs. Hence, from grower to consumer, technologies and practices are employed to reduce potential losses as much as possible. Sorting machines fine tune the sizing and separating of defective produce. Packaging engineers design containers that maximize air flow to allow efficient cooling while maintaining strength to protect the fragile contents during storage and shipping. [Read more...]