Two weeks ago I was able to attend the Food Waste Summit at Parkview Hospital. I was not sure what to expect but they did have a lot of high profile people in their panel ready to answer questions about food waste. Some of these people represented the EPA, Kroger, and Waste Management.
Two items given out were a sticker to place on a bin holding whatever food needs to be used up first (“Eat this first”) and a notepad similar to the menu plan list every homemaker uses. These two items were supposed to help households throw out less food by being aware of what needs to be used and what is already available to prevent over buying at the store.
One example I found useful was the “blue bin” used by some restaurants to create a visual aid for food waste. Every piece of produce that would be thrown away for the day (think ends of onions) instead was tossed into the bin. At the end of the day the crew would go through the bin and see if they were throwing away portions of produce they would actually be able to use.
I also learned that Kroger plans on being “zero waste company” by 2020. I knew they donated their unsold items to local charities but I was unaware of this initiative. Under the Good Samaritan law there is also little legal risk to picking up donated (or donating) food to others. I think if more people knew this more would donate or take the time to pick up donated food from grocery stores and deliver it to those who could use it.
I was not so encouraged about the lack of community composting talk. It seems that even in places where this has been implemented it is scarcely used and used improperly. I’d love to have a neighborhood-managed compost heap that everyone can add to and benefit from.