30 Day Zero Waste Challenge
We waste 165 billion dollars worth of food per year, as much as half of all the food we produce, while 1 in 7 in the U.S. are food insecure. “Food waste is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. When we waste food we also waste all of the land, water, fossil fuels, and labor that was used to grow it. Food waste is also a leading cause of rainforest deforestation, depletion of fish in the ocean, and biodiversity loss.”
According to according to Losses, Inefficiencies and Waste in the Global Food System (2017) food losses occur in 6 categories: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X16302384
- Agriculture Production – residues, roots, straw, unharvested crops and losses during harvest
- Livestock Production – loss and inefficiencies in the conversion of feed and grass into animal products
- Handling, Storage, Transportation and Processing – Food lost spillage, degradation during distribution, etc.
- Consumer Waste
- Overconsumption – additional intake of food beyond that required for human nutrition
Today’s challenge focuses on #1-Agricultural Production and what we as consumers can do about it. Come to find out that grocery stores, and the perceived biases from their customers, are driving much of this shameful food waste.
Rob Greenfield on a bike ride:
“Despite a government and industry focus on food waste occurring in homes, our pioneering research finds that waste on farms, often a result of supermarkets’ outsized power in the supply chain, is significant and pervasive.”
How groceries/retailers contribute:
- In a UK study, “farmers surveyed agreed they were forced to overproduce because there is pressure to always meet buyer orders, or risk losing contracts… The inflexibility of supermarket contracts has “normalised overproduction and the resulting waste.” “We would like to see retailers relaxing their cosmetic standards to ensure diversity of shapes and sizes – factors that don’t affect the taste or quality at all.”
- The takeover of the market by giant chains (Walmart, Amazon, etc.) appears to have left fewer outlets to sell “imperfect” produce. “Produce being rejected for cosmetic reasons such as colour, shape and size was the major reason for food waste…”
- “While consumers can undoubtedly be fussy when choosing their food, the report suggests consumer fussiness is being driven by the supermarkets themselves. …Nearly half those surveyed said retailers use cosmetic standards as an excuse to reject produce when they can get a lower price elsewhere, or else following a fall in demand.”
Rob Greenfield’s suggestions:
- Grocery stores must measure food waste.
- Practice transparency and make that information publicly available.
- Take responsibility for their entire supply chain from farm to fork.
- Reduce their cosmetic standards.
- Adopt ethical practices with farms regarding contracts.
So much more here! http://robgreenfield.tv/foodwastesolutions/
GET YOUR ACTIVISM ON!
Put pressure on grocery stores to make changes. #DemandUgly
Ask grocery stores to #DonateNotDump.
Don’t waste food. Lead by example.
Grow your own food.
Support your local farmers.
AND – Support or buy from groups like this:
Can you share ideas? What’s going on in your neck of the woods?
Quote of the Day:
“Cutting food waste is a delicious way of saving money, helping to feed the world and protect the planet.” –Tristram Stuart
The full Food Loss/Waste series:
- DAY 15: AVOID FISH OR REDUCE/CHOOSE CAREFULLY
- DAY 16: MAKE AN AUDIT OF YOUR OWN FOOD WASTE
- DAY 17: HELP WITH FOOD RESCUE IN YOUR COMMUNITY!
- DAY 18: FARM TO GROCERY STORE – LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!
- DAY 19: TREAT YOURSELF TO A HOUSEHOLD HABITS MAKEOVER!
- DAY 20: FINAL IN THE SERIES – EAT FOOD. NOT TOO MUCH. MOSTLY PLANTS.