Considering 2.9 trillion pounds of food are wasted each year, you could say we have big problem. With the increasing difficulty to feed growing populations, waste of resources, and the staggering amount of greenhouse gases created by food waste we can’t afford to keep doing what we’re doing.
The global community is waking up to this, working on creative solutions to prevent, recover and recycle food waste.
France Forbids Food Waste
Recently, France became the first country to pass a law forbidding grocery stores from destroying or throwing away unsold food. If it is safe for human consumption, stores must donate the food to charity or food banks. Otherwise, they can donate the food to farmers to be used as feed or compost. See the rest of the story in The Guardian’s “French Law Forbids Food Waste By Supermarkets.”
Pineapple leaf leather. Milk yarn. Orange fiber. As many synthetic fabrics are made from non-renewable petroleum based polyester and high demand natural fibres such as cotton needs large amounts of water to grow and process, manufacturers are looking for more sustainable alternatives. “The key is to focus on reusing natural byproducts that are not rival to food consumption, but that can provide sustainable resources. In other words: making clothes out of food waste and food by-products.” Read more in Civil Eats’ “One Man’s Food Waste Is Another’s Sustainable Fashion Statement.”
Bread into Beer
It’s a miracle! The London-based brewer Toast Ale combines the bread crumbs of surplus bread from bakeries and delis with malted barley, hops and yeast to create it’s signature beer. Better yet, all profits go to the food waste nonprofit Feedback. See more in the Independent’s “Toast Ale Brew: London Brewery Turns Bread Into Beer to Tackle Food Waste.”
Zero Packaging Grocery Stores
We also need to take into account the waste created around food. The zero waste market concept of using reusable containers instead of disposable packaging has been dappled with in cities like Austin and Berlin and now in Coppenhagen and Vancouver.
“Ugly” is the New Sexy
Grocery chains such as Intermarche, Whole Foods and Giant Eagle are selling “cosmetically challenged” produce at discount prices to encourage customers to buy fruits and vegetables that are perfectly nutritious and fabulous on the inside.
Image credit: digitaltoni
What Can We Do?
Glad you asked. Tree Hugger shares 15 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste.
Many of these projects address food waste a the consumption level but much needs to be done at all stages in the food system, including processing, storage, transportation and so on.
But we are excited about all of the inspiring efforts, from grassroots to political, that are changing how we see and address food waste. What are some initiatives you’ve seen? Comment below!