For many years, we at LeanPath have talked about the “romance of composting.” We have found in our work on this issue that when people are putting food back into the soil rather than sending it to rot in a landfill, they often think they have checked the box or closed the loop on addressing wasted food within their organization. This tends to translate into a feeling that they don’t need to worry about food waste prevention strategies since they are already composting. And our hypothesis has always been that they may even become waste complacent since they know that the waste is ending up in a “good place.”
3 things you can do today to shift behaviors in your team.
If you follow LeanPath and our food waste blog, you’ve likely heard us say this: food waste is a behavioral issue. You can implement processes, use technology, create mandates—but at the end of the day, if we can’t change behaviors, then we can’t begin to solve this problem.
The food waste movement has come a long way in recent years, moving definitively into the mainstream of sustainability conversations. Television hosts and celebrity chefs are talking about it, and businesses and governments are setting goals to reduce it. The EPA’s food recovery hierarchy is the long-time accepted standard for best practices in food waste reduction, with prevention firmly established at the top as the optimal solution. And though there are various techniques for prevention, daily measurement of waste is emerging as a standard of excellence for foodservice operations that want to prevent the maximum amount of food waste.
Just last month the Norwegian University of Science and Technology released a study that compared the impact of collecting food waste to convert it to biogas (recycling) versus cutting food waste (prevention). A growing number of waste management plants in both the United States and Europe are processing food waste into biogas, which significantly reduces CO2 emissions when it replaces fossil fuels. But is this process a good long-term solution for the environment?
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. For most of us, this holiday revolves around a full-table feast with turkey galore and all the festive trimmings. Delicious? Yes! But unfortunately, also wasteful in many cases. We thought this month presented a great opportunity to highlight some of the things we can (and should) be doing to reduce waste at home. Not just for this one holiday, but for the entire year.