Weekend food waste roundup – 28 April 2013

28Apr13

What happens when a politician attempts to tackle food waste? Well, if you are a politician in Great Britain, you get rotten tomatoes tossed your way.

In fact, when Environment minister Richard Benyon claimed that Britons were wasting about £50 GBP (or about $77 USD) a week, he kicked up quite the storm.

For a  while I felt like I was reading celebrity gossip and not news about ways to approach the complex issue of solving our food waste issues. And then The Guardian publishes “Should it brie in the bin?” which attempts to look at the numbers and explain how food waste is a problem in a nation facing severe austerity.

Here in the United States, Liz Neumark summarized what she learned at the National Food  Policy Conference in Washington DC. She shares some new numbers on food waste in the  nation:

  • 1 in 4 Americans need government food or nutrition assistance program.
  • 68% of food-insecure families have at least one adult working full-time.
  • About 30-40 percent of what travels from farm on the way to the fork becomes food waste. That is over 65 billion pounds of food a year according to the EPA.

And finally, there were two articles with nice tips and strategies for helping individuals reduce the amount of food they waste. First, “Having a meal plan— and sticking to it — can cut waste and your waist” in the Calgary Herald makes the case for more discipline in shopping and cooking. Second, Care2.com recommends a FIFO (First In, First Out) approach to food in your fridge.

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It’s a joke, right?

Cover - Good Omens

Sometime around the time Jean-Francois and I started dating, he presented me with a few books to read. Some were his favourites (Kurt Vonnegut), two were books he picked because he wanted to show that he “got me”. One, Foucault’s Pendulum, was a literary historical suspense thriller by Umberto Eco. It had me researching references for weeks. The other was Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, a comedy about the Second Coming that was also lush in layered interpretation, jokes, allusions and generally good fun.

There is one joke in Good Omens that is like a latent virus in my memory. It flares in response to certain events or topics centred on food and nutrition. It is a joke about one of the four riders of the Apocalypse: Famine. In this novel, Famine is a ruthless 1980’s business executive in the food industry. His latest two projects, Nouvelle Cuisine and Highly Processed Fast Food, both so beautifully meet his primary goal, that he cannot help being a bit smug. His goal, starving humans to death.
Why does Famine keep coming to mind? Because I think anyone who works in the industrialized food industry worships, intentionally or not, at his altar. My reading list this week supports this theory:
Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, looks at the science behind make food we crave–even if it is bad for us. I am on the second chapter of this one, and really loving his investigated challenge to these moguls. It’s like he wants us to ask them all: How could you not know that you are helping to make us all sick?
Pandora’s Lunchbox by Melanie Warner is more about how the demands of our lifestyles created a market for processed foods that now is making us fatter, slower, and sicker. Combined these two books look at the relationship between our desire for convenience to enjoy the good life and our desire to make enough money to have the good life.
And then there is Just Food by James E. McWilliams, published in 2009. This book looks at how those of us trying to make smarter, healthier, and more sustainable choices about what and how we eat, is creating deep anxiety in regular people. Basically we feel guilty all the time.
Each of these books is well-written and researched. But the subject matter makes me flip between the three. Why? Because each reminds me of Famine, and his cool, clean, metro sexual smugness. Pratchett and Gaiman were joking, trying to remind us that not all food is created equal. So, why are we still choosing to grow, make, market, and buy foods that hurt us and some many of our friends and family? Famine is winning despite the availability of nourishing food for many of us. (Don’t get me started thinking about all the food deserts created by executives who put cost benefits above humanity when deciding where grocery markets should be located.)
Yes, Jean-Francois always did understand how to set my mind on fire. He still does.

Weekend food waste roundup – 16 December 2012

Food waste in the news

16 December 2012

Household Food Waste: Opportunities for Companies to Provide Solutions | Reports | BSR – An overview of solutions companies can pursue to help consumers reduce household food waste.

Food waste needs government lead | FOODmanufacture.co.uk  – Government and big business needs to show they have “broken the back” of food waste recycling before foisting it on householders.

CleanWorld opening second biodigester system to turn food waste into natural gas, electricity – Sacramento Business Journal – Organic waste recycling center will turn Sacramento food waste into natural gas, electricity and soil amendment products.

Universities join effort to reduce food waste, turn scraps into compost – Cronkite News –  Committing to the Food Recovery Challenge organized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Arizona’s three public universities have pledged to reduce food waste on their campuses by a minimum of 5 percent over the next year.

And a useful resource

StillTasty: Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide – Save Money, Eat Better, Help The Environment

Weekend food waste roundup – 25 November 2012

The Food Movement Takes a Beating – NYTimes.com – A look at how the food movement fared in the recent US elections.

Why Greek Yogurt Makers Want Whey To Go Away : The Salt : NPR – Wheying in on traditional Greek yogurt?

Meeting will explore food waste reduction | Burlington Free Press | burlingtonfreepress.com – Vermonters are preparing for a phased-in ban on dumping food wastes in landfills. Would be great to see this implemented across the country planet.

Porcine furnaces make many meals of food waste – Crookston, MN – Crookston Times – Crookston, MN – Every year, about 23,000 tons of food scraps are fed to 5,000 hogs in Anoka County.

Pig, beer & lanterns

Harmonise food safety regs for ‘huge difference’ to food waste – Does erring on the side of caution lead to unnecessary waste?

Tips for Reducing Food Waste | 3BL Media – An interview with Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland and wastedfood.com.

Food waste site sparks opposition – News – getsurrey – Residents see biogas as a necessary and ecologically useful method of waste disposal, but not in their neigbourhood…

Weekend food waste roundup – 11 November 2012

Some interesting ideas

11 November 2012

Portion-mania: problematic for waists and waste. But could McDonald’s be on to something? | Dana Gunders’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC – Is it possible that McDonald’s is doing something right?

Removing trays from dining halls cuts food waste – Khaleej Times – A simple strategy to reduce food waste.

Be a Hero! Help Stop Fresh Food Waste and Get a Green Wallet with the New Green Savings Hero Partner Program from the Green Refrigerator Machine by Ozonator – Yahoo! News – Ozone technology in the Green Refrigerator Machine extends the shelf life of perishable foods, gives families more time to eat their fresh foods.

A reminder for the holidays

Reducing Food Waste During the Holiday Season | Worldwatch Institute – A few things to keep in mind over the holidays, when we tend to waste even more than usual.

Food recovery initiatives

Hilton Hotels to Share Food Waste in Hungry Egypt | Green Prophet – Hilton Worldwide has launched a pilot program to distribute surplus food to community organizations that feed the poor in Egypt.

Students turn waste food into meals – Wilmette Life – The Campus Kitchen Project is a nationwide non-profit with 33 participating colleges and high schools.

Composting initiatives

Composting option resolves some companies’ waste woes | The Tennessean | tennessean.com – Turning waste from breweries into compost.

City looks to expand composting program | The Columbia Daily Tribune – Columbia, Missouri

Bennington Banner: Vermont towns plan for new solid waste guidelines – Bennington Banner

222 million tons mentions

Food Apps that Help Reduce Waste During the Holidays, from Special Grocery Lists to Restaurant Deals and More – The Daily Squeeze

Weekend food waste roundup – 28 October 2012

For those of you in L.A., this is just a small reminder that I’ll be speaking at Westfield Century City on Tuesday as part of the CODA Electric Vehicle Speaker Series. If you’d plan to attend, RSVP to concierge@codaautomotive.com by October 29.

And in other news…

Students taking action

JM Gets a New Hydration Station – Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School installed its first “Hydration Station” at the school last month, and paid for it from savings the school achieved by diverting food waste and turning it into electrical energy.

Business Rx: Food Recovery Networks seeks steady income stream – The Washington Post – Student-run Food Recovery Network seeks revenue stream to make it financially self-sustaining in the long term.

The ups and downs of food waste?

Brazil favelas maid fights food waste with ‘viagra’ in Italy – The Malaysian Insider – Regina Tchelly teaches others how to reduce waste in her cooking classes, by showing them how to make such dishes as banana peel brigadeiro. She claims that her trademark dish, watermelon rind risotto, has viagra-like properties. I suppose that’s just as true of my watermelon rind chutney, which has the benefit of lasting longer.

Bengaluru drowning in its own waste | GulfNews.com – Greater wealth has spawned more garbage, and the managers of the country’s development have been unable to handle the load.

A Rise in Food Prices Could Stem the Tide of Food Waste · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader Is cheaper always better?

Weekend food waste roundup – 21 October 2012

Jack-o-lanterns: a scary amount of food waste

Smart Suzy: Ready for pumpkin-carving? Cut down on food waste, go green, deals | Our Smart Money — In this entry, Smart Suzy talks about creative ways to carve pumpkins, and about food waste, but doesn’t link the two topics. So what will you be doing with all that pumpkin flesh to keep it out of landfill?

Easy listening

On The Point: GMOs, Food Waste, and Food as Entertainment | Slow Food Los Angeles — Interesting and thoughtful discussion, and a timely one for those in California who will be voting on prop 37.

Dumping food waste – ABC South Australia – Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) — This audio program, with two Aussie Food Waste Experts, shares tips and recipes to help reduce waste and save money.

And in other news

Study Finds That Cutting Food Waste Could Feed One Billion Hungry People | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building — In inhabitat (an online magazine that promotes sustainable design), Kristine Lofgren reports on a study that our current approach to feeding 9 billion people may be short-sighted. This study found that approaches that cut food waste, rather than increase food production, could feed 1 billion people.

Anger over waste scheme (From The Northern Echo) – Is Politically speaking, it is still hard to convince communities to embrace food waste solutions

Modern alchemists

Food waste is one raw material we have way too much of, and there are plenty of schemes to turn it into usable products.

30,000 TPA Food Waste to Biogas Facility for Edinburgh – Waste Mangagement World — Edinburgh plans to turn 30,000 tonnes of food waste in biogas each year

Waste could prove a money-spinner – Taipei Times — Entrepreneurs in Taiwan have developed new technologies to make the wasted sorghum grains into value-added products.

Starbucks turns food waste into plastic | Green Futures Magazine — Meanwhile, Starbucks is looking to turn food waste into plastic.

Composting in the Valley Cuts Down on Food Waste — Black Bear Composting is helping restaurants turn waste into compost for local farmers. I’m not sure this is helping reduce food waste, as the title claims, but it is a good way to divert it.

Composting—Turning Garbage into Black Gold – State of the Planet — Food waste is now collected at 25 GrowNYC Greenmarket locations and many other sites in New York City for composting.

Let Us Compost helps apartment dwellers, restaurants be more green | Online Athens — A new start-up that is providing a solution to help urban dwellers compost.

Lebanon news – NOW Lebanon -Food for thought on World Food Day — Two great causes that go great together: food recovery and composting.

Levi’s Launches New WasteEcouterre – OK, this one isn’t about food waste, but thought I’d throw it in here anyway…

222 million tons app mentions

4 Mobile Apps Helping Minimize Waste in the Food Industry | Sustainable Cities Collective — This article seems to be making the rounds.

Apps Only Apps » 222 Millones de toneladas …. — A Spanish app review site. My high school Spanish lies abandoned corner of my brain, but I remember enough to be happy with the words “222 Millon Tons es una brillante idea (creo yo)…”

Weekend food waste roundup – 14 October 2012

We didn’t see very much about food waste in the news this week, though it was great to see the 222 million tons app mentioned in one of the articles we found, as well as a call for action in Singapore (my home away from home much of the time).

I’ve also included links to a couple of blog posts in this week’s roundup, from two of my favourite bloggers who go the extra mile in the composting department.

In the news

Mobile Apps Can Help Reduce Food Waste

Eagles recycling extends to the parking lot

TODAYonline | Voices | Food is to be eaten, not dumped

Composting - going the extra mile

Stealing Trash – A New High « Dirt N Kids

Hair cuts = compost | Attempting zero waste lifestyle in a military household

Weekend food waste roundup – 7 October 2012

This week’s roundup has a tips on preserving food (including using etheylene absorbers to prolong the shelf life of produce) and reducing waste (including an article on reducing Thanksgiving waste – timely, if you happen to be Canadian), as well as a couple of articles about the issue of food waste.

Tips for preserving food and reducing waste

How to Absorb Ethylene Gas | eHow.com

Budget Tip: How To Vacuum Seal Food Without a Vacuum Sealing Machine | The Kitchn

Save Your Food: Canning and Freezing 101 – Earth911.com

Cooked Apple Recipes Great for Fall, Baked Apples, Apple Crisp and More – AARP

7 ways to reduce household food waste –  News – MSN CA

Tips from the pros on cutting Thanksgiving waste – The Globe and Mail

More on food waste

UN Says Europe Wastes 50% Of Fruit And Vegetables — And America Isn’t Much Better – Forbes

Radio Prague – Study maps makeup of Czech household waste

Weekend food waste roundup – 30 September 2012

It seems that food waste is getting a bit more attention these days, and so I’ve decided to share information on Twitter and Facebook as I come across it, with the occasional round-up here. Some recent finds follow…

Consumers want it. Now is the time to act on food waste | Comment & Opinion | The Grocer – It’s nice to see that there’s some dialogue about food waste in the grocery industry.

Grocery Chain Figures Out How to Stop Wasting Food | Care2 Causes – If you make money selling food, it makes good business sense not to waste it. Stop & Shop has bucked traditional supermarket wisdom and made that discovery.

From Farm to Landfill – NYTimes.com – As we struggle to find ways to grow more and more food to feed more and more people, one obvious way to increase the food supply is often overlooked: waste less.

Chuck Newcomb: Avoid wasting food by buying what’s needed, storing it properly – A little common sense advice on how not to waste food.