Enlarge Mustafa Quraishi/AP
jackfruit and tomatoes are sorted at a dump in New Delhi. India loses
an estimated 40 percent of its produce harvest for lack of
infrastructure. And Americans waste about 40 percent of our food.
The food world is buzzing today about the
latest news on just how often we waste perfectly good food. And we
admit, the statistics are pretty depressing.
40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. The average
American consumer wastes 10 times as much food as someone in Southeast
Asia — up 50 percent from Americans in the 1970s. Yet, 1 in 6 Americans
doesn't have enough to eat, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And
food waste costs us about $165 billion a year and sucks up 25 percent
of our freshwater supply.
That's all according to the report
with the not-so-subtle title, "Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40
Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill," just released by the
Natural Resources Defense Council.
As we've reported, there are all kinds of offenders in this game, from restaurants to regular consumers and our refrigerators.
But we thought we'd bring you some info on what some folks are doing to
combat the waste and reroute the food where it's needed:
1. Coffee Could Be Fuel Times Two: Researchers are teaming up with Starbucks Hong Kong and a nonprofit called The Climate Group to turn used coffee grounds and wasted bakery items into fertilizer, plastics and biofuels, according to Fast Company.
2. Gents, Start Your Bikes: Caleb Philips founded Boulder Food Rescue,
a group that collects produce and packaged goods that grocery stores
consider no longer "sellable" and bikes them to shelters, housing
projects and at-risk community outlets. Since September 2011, BFR has
rescued more than 128,000 pounds of nutritious food and transported most
of that to feed those in need, according to NPR's Participation Nation
3. There's An App For That:
Students at Arizona State University are developing a mobile phone app
called FlashFood designed to connect restaurants with excess food to
community groups in need, according to the blog EarthTechling. And Love Food Hate Waste
is a free app for iPhone and Android that offers hints, tips and recipe
ideas to keep home cooks from trashing those squishy tomatoes too soon.
4. Follow That Squash:
NPR's Pam Fessler recently brought us this piece on how Wal-Mart and
Feeding America have teamed up to get fresh but slightly imperfect fresh
foods to the needy. And it's got some pretty cool graphics, too, where
you can follow an ear of corn and some yellow squash from farm to table.
5. Do I Hear $100? Stay tuned tomorrow for a piece right here and on All Things Considered
about how grocery stores are unloading food at auction that is
discontinued, seasonal or near its expiration date, from NPR's Serri
What cool anti-food-waste projects are you hearing about? Let us know in the comments section.