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Food Waste or Food Excess?

By Andrew Shakman, Co-Founder & CEO  ///  October 27, 2014

A shift in terminology could lead to a shift in behavior.

Changing the terminology around food waste could change how it's treated.

Earlier this month on World Food Day, I participated in the first ever Zero Food Waste Forum, hosted by the Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA) in Berkeley, CA. Many were calling it the “Woodstock of Food Waste” and it lived up to the name, bringing together global leaders in food waste prevention and recovery to brainstorm how to solve the senseless conundrum that 40% of our food is wasted in the U.S. while 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 4 children are food insecure at some point during the year.

One of the topics I found particularly intriguing was the need to re-frame “food waste.” Waste, by definition in this context, means “material that is not wanted; the unusable remains or byproducts of something.” But much of this “waste” is actually delicious, edible, recoverable food. A slight shift in words, referring to it instead as “food excess” could impact how people perceive it.

How much “food excess” do you have in your operation’s kitchen? Are you preventing as much “waste” as you can and donating the edible “excess” to a local food bank or charity?

The EPA food recovery hierarchy can help guide your efforts as it relates to a holistic food waste management strategy. Don’t stop with composting! Composting is a critical piece of the overall strategy but we can’t stop there—prevention and food recovery need to rise to the top of the list.

Topics: Food Waste Musings, Food Waste Prevention Newsletter