As we face a serious drought, many cities in California and elsewhere are working hard to waste less water. But we as a nation have yet to fully comprehend the equally important impact of wasting food.
Recent Articles About
For a few weeks this March, New Yorkers lined up outside a trendy Greenwich Village restaurant for a chance to pay $15 a plate for food that most would consider garbage. The event in question was wastED, the innovative and ambitious dining project from chef and author Dan Barber, who transformed his restaurant, Blue Hill, into a pop-up aimed at showing the dining world how much could be done with scraps, leftovers, and industrial byproducts.
There is a great deal of waste behind your cup of coffee. Last year, researchers at the University of Bath in the UK found that a small coffee shop throws out roughly 22 pounds of used coffee grounds per day. In January, a satirical short film called “Kill the K-Cup” went viral, projecting a dystopian future overrun by the non-biodegradable, landfill-clogging, coffee-brewing pods. And just this month, the inventor of K-Cups publicly apologized for his innovation, telling The Atlantic, “No matter what they say … those things will never be recyclable.” Read more
Last summer, the outerwear giant Patagonia made an unusual purchase: 80,000 pounds of wild Sockeye salmon. The fish was for its new food line, Patagonia Provisions, available online and in the company’s 30 U.S. retail stores in the form of a 6-ounce, $12 package of vacuum-packed, shelf-stable smoked salmon. If the product is successful, it could become one of the most verifiably ethical and sustainable salmon options on the market, much in the way Patagonia aimed to change the garment industry nearly two decades ago by switching to organic cotton.
In the 2009 documentary Objectified, former New York Times magazine columnist and branding guru Rob Walker said something especially cogent.
“If I had a billion dollars to fund a marketing campaign,” said Walker, “I would launch a campaign on behalf of things you already own.” The idea, he went on to explain in OnEarth magazine, would be to shift consumer attitudes regarding the value of “newness.” Read more
Dumpster divers of the world, unite. Last week, food waste activist Rob Greenfield offered to pay the fines and bring some media attention to anyone who gets arrested or ticketed for taking and eating tossed food.
Greenfield has been drawing attention to food waste by traveling the country, engaging local communities, and photographing the enormous quantities of wasted food he finds. Now he hopes more Americans will begin looking at the problem directly by trying it themselves by taking people’s fear of arrest and fines out of the equation. Read more
A recent photo of Salvage Supperclub stopped me in my tracks. The photo showed a dozen people happily dining inside a dumpster, with the goal to draw attention to the growing issue of food waste in the U.S. Like all reasonable people with an extreme interest in food, I signed up to get an alert for the next dinner.
Salvage Supperclub is the brainchild of Josh Treuhaft, a recent graduate of the Design for Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Treuhaft was a self-described “compost junkie” before he enrolled. As he tested different hypotheses, it became clear to him that “most people don’t get excited about waste. Wasting less is hard to do and it makes you feel guilty.” Read more
There’s no question that food waste is a fiasco. Up to 40 percent of the food grown in the U.S. is never eaten. But for all the talk of reducing waste, among environmentalists, humanitarians, and penny-pinchers alike, there are still misconceptions about what’s safe to eat and legal to give away. Read more
Every year, Americans throw away $165 billion dollars worth of food—that’s more than we spend on the food stamp program (SNAP), national parks, public libraries, and health care for veterans combined. Around 40 percent of our entire food supply gets tossed in trashcans, dumpsters, and landfills, and we’re not even a well-fed nation.
Fifty million Americans, or one in seven, are food insecure and 17 million children, or one in five, go without food on a regular basis. The majority of you reading this likely don’t experience hunger or food insecurity, but the truth is we are a very hungry nation. Read more
Lunch time at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colo., displays all the usual trappings of a public school cafeteria: Star Wars lunch boxes, light up tennis shoes, hard plastic trays and chocolate milk cartons with little cartoon cows. It’s pizza day, the most popular of the week, and kids line up at a salad bar before receiving their slice.