With Europe making leaps and bounds in the food waste policy conversation, it make it seem like America is being left in the dust. We’re not where many other countries are, but we do have our strengths and are making our own strides.
Today marks the last day of #FoodWasteWeek and I just wanted to share a few notes and scribbles I find inspiring on the food waste topic.
- Companies, cities, and entire countries are choosing to donate rather than throw it away. France, among other countries such as Denmark and Italy, has made it legally difficult to throw away food. Unless it really it damaged in some way, it needs to be donated. And before we get down on corporations and the U.S., consider that a Walmart representative recently shared with me that Walmart has a food donation program that surpasses the entire gross revenues of Sam’s Club. That’s a lot of food donation from one company – and there are so many in the U.S. that donate. If only we could get all grocery stores onboard.
- Redirection is another option. Many are redirecting aged bread to contribute to the beer-making process. Fruits and veggies passing their ripe phase are turned into jams, jellies, smoothies, chutneys, and soups.
- The tech connection. Germany and a few other countries are creating apps that send push notifications when food has been discounted at the local market. It’s sort of like the manager’s discount section at the back of the grocery store nobody ever pays attention to, but with the tech connection.
- Composting is the way of the future and if you aren’t participating, you should be. It’s too easy not to. It’s easy to blame grocery stores and restaurants, but it turns out, households are actually the number one offender when it comes to food waste. Even if you don’t have a yard to compost with, most cities have composting programs now so you can donate to the city composting program. California recently passed into law that it will be illegal to send compostable material or organic matter to the landfill by 2025.
- Countries like Amsterdam and cities like, New York, are bringing the food waste problem full circle by creating more and more urban gardens. Rooftops, walls, closets, nothing is off limits when it comes to growing your own food. And with the growing number of compost programs, this just makes sense. Gardening reduces waste by creating more of a connection between the grower and their meal. It makes it more difficult to waste food when we personally worked so hard to grow it.
- Use ugly fruits and veggies. As event professionals, we can do several things to reduce food waste. One tactic is something I’ve written about before – go ahead and use those ugly fruits and veggies our kitchens tend to throw away. Slice them, dice them, label them as ugly, but edible. Do what you need to do, but don’t throw it away. If you must get rid of it, just take the extra 10-20 minutes to donate it.
There is so much more that can be done to eliminate, not just reduce, but eliminate food waste. Food Waste Week is not the only time of year we should focus on it, but it’s a start. Let’s all do our part. Tweet at me or comment here to let me know the ways you reduce or eliminate food waste in your kitchen!