There’s no easy way around it: Fighting food waste is a global issue that needs proactive solutions. Thankfully, politicians, researchers, influencers in the food industry and product designers are making it easier for individuals to cut the amount of edible food thrown away and to maximize the utility of organic scraps. From America to Germany and beyond, here are five ways the world is making steady progress on this preventable problem.
Australian nonprofit OzHarvest has found a new source of food to rescue for those in need. Ronni Kahn, founder and director of OzHarvest, has been working to reclaim uneaten airplane sandwiches, juice, fruit and granola bars. “Approximately 160 tons of food each year is rescued from airline partners in Australia, which equates to around 480,000 meals,” she told Food Tank.
The Guardian published a pair of ideas regarding the UK’s food-waste problem. The first floated the notion that “time-poor millennials” are “preoccupied by the visual presentation of food” while “failing to plan meals, buying too much and then throwing it away.” In response, another writer argued that middle-aged people were to blame, owing to “postwar, intensive farming and supermarket culture that has divorced us entirely from how food is made, grown, produced and should be eaten.”
While no new solutions to the problem are technically offered on either end, the fact that food waste is a multigenerational conversation is certainly a step in the right direction.
There’s a new way to shop for food in the German city of Cologne: The Good Food, a supermarket that sells exclusively food that’s past its sell-by date but still perfectly edible. Founder Nicole Klaski goes to farms to pick up organic produce “too ugly” for conventional markets, selling the rescued food as well as nonperishables via a “pay what you can” model. Currently in its second month of operation, the Good Food has proved a success. “No one wants to throw the food away,” Klaski said to Deutche Welle. “We save the vegetables and expired products, and the producers are happy that their food is still eaten.”
Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine is a cosponsor of the Food Donation Act Of 2017, a renewal of her past efforts to reduce waste across America while providing much-needed services to the growing population of food-insecure. Introduced on February 7, the bill would reduce the kinds of liabilities that prevent companies from donating leftover and unused food to charities, and it’s backed by food safety scientists. What’s more, Pingree will be proposing a second round of legislation to boost public awareness of food-waste reduction and reform sell-by and best-by dates on labels. This will help maximize the amount of time consumers have to finish what they buy.
Boston nonprofit Lovin’ Spoonfuls delivers food rescued from restaurants and supermarkets to community groups in need. Their latest endeavor: enlisting celebrity chefs and local restaurateurs to teach cooking classes to those in need. It’s one thing to receive a big bunch of kale or beets, but entirely another to prepare them at home. Top Chef season 1 alum Tiffany Faison recently taught a class on cooking healthy food using only a microwave, geared toward those who may not have access to a full kitchen.