Fighting Food Waste, Part 2: The Overshadowed Upstream Impact
Every item we throw away contains a significant amount of invisible embedded energy and resources. But this “upstream” impact
is often overshadowed because it’s sort of invisible to us—it’s all the resources that go into the food before it reaches your organization’s kitchen; at the farm, during transportation, in storage, etc. From fertilizer to herbicides to tractor fuel (and the list goes on), it takes a lot to get that food from the farm to the kitchen.
In fact, according to research from the environmental analytics company CleanMetrics, 80% of the emissions associated with food waste occur during production and processing. This implies that the method of disposal—compost vs. landfill—has a limited impact on total greenhouse gas emissions. (The same study found that food waste is responsible for 135 million tons of greenhouse gases every year.)
Source reduction is the most powerful and effective thing we can do to manage waste. By designing systems and policies to prevent, minimize or avoid waste in the first place, we have an opportunity to save food and labor dollars while making the largest positive impact on the environment.
If you’d like to learn more, please contact me to discuss scheduling a personalized educational Webinar for your foodservice leadership team on the importance of food waste prevention.