Many foodservice operations incorporate donating excess edible food into their food waste strategy and overall mission to do good. The US EPA food recovery hierarchy, which has long been a guiding resource for prioritization of food waste solutions, positions feeding hungry people just below source reduction for preferred approaches to food waste. And it seems like it’s hard to argue with the inherent “good” that comes along with feeding hungry people, right?
A recent report from SaveOnEnergy.com illustrates the potential benefits of converting wasted food to energy, and the findings are very compelling. Using the average weight of food wasted per person in North America, the report calculates the approximate energy that could be generated should the food be digested rather than sent to landfill.
Continuing the push for more food waste legislation, United States Congress Representatives Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and James P. McGovern (D-MA) introduced The Food Donation Act of 2017 (H.R. 952) earlier this month. The bill amends The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (the Emerson Act), which was passed in 1996 to encourage food donation by offering protection from liability to those who donate food in good faith.
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.