Sustainable America Blog

Author Archives: Amy Leibrock

Are Food Waste Bans Working?

Man putting fresh produce into a trash can

Photo: Earth Fix via Flickr

In the fight against food waste, a handful of states have enacted policies that ban some generators of food waste from sending food scraps to landfills. These laws are new, so data about their effectiveness isn’t widely available yet, but a pair of reports from Vermont and Massachusetts were released recently that show these policy solutions are making headway.

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3 Great Ideas from OpenIDEO’s Food Waste Challenge

Post it notes on desk

Photo: Larry Vincent via Flickr

There’s some great energy around solving the food waste problem lately. Case in point is OpenIDEO, which recently held a food waste challenge in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, ReFED, and The San Francisco Department of the Environment. The purpose was to tap into a global community of creative problem solvers to develop ideas that could dramatically reduce food waste. Here are three of our favorite ideas.

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Anthony Bourdain Is Producing a Food Waste Documentary

Chef Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is adding his name to a growing list of celebrity chefs working to raise awareness about the worldwide food waste problem. It was announced this week that the chef, author and host of CNN’s Parts Unknown is producing a feature-length documentary called WASTED! The Story of Food Waste, in conjunction with The Rockefeller Foundation.

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‘Farm-to-Court’ Food at the NBA’s Greenest Arena

Chef Michael Tuohy at Golden 1 Center with meat

Executive Chef Michael Tuohy's goal is to source 90 percent of Golden 1 Center's food within 150 miles.

The Sacramento Kings’ new Golden 1 Center has just set the bar very high for sustainability in sports. One aspect of its many environmental features and programs is Chef Michael Tuohy’s mission to source 90 percent of the arena’s food from within 150 miles.

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Clean Cars May Cost Less Than You Think

Chevy Spark

The Chevrolet Spark was found to be one of the most affordable and least polluting vehicles on the market today.

Yes, you can afford an alt-fuel car.

A new study released this week by Massachusetts Institute of Technology compares the lifecycle cost and emissions of owning 125 different vehicles on the market, and guess what? It turns out that clean cars are a great deal for both the environment and your pocketbook.

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How One Chef Is Fighting Food Waste at the Rio Olympics

Refettorio Gastromotiva in Rio for the 2016 Olympics

RefettoRio Gastromotiva in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Leo Aversa

As nations around the world have been preparing teams to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, chef Massimo Bottura has assembled a dream team for his own kind of sport: feeding people in need from food that would go to waste. RefettoRio Gastromotiva, which opens today in Rio, is projected to recover 12 tons of food surplus from the Olympic Village in just 44 days during the Olympics and Paralympics.

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Mini Doc: Jack Johnson’s Sustainable America

Jack Johnson digs through worms as part of a compost lesson at Lanikai Elementary School in Hawaii.

Jack Johnson digs through worms as part of a compost lesson at Lanikai Elementary School in Hawaii.

When musician and environmental activist Jack Johnson invited us to join him for an elementary school compost lesson (and schoolyard concert) in Hawaii, we grabbed a film crew. Watch our new mini documentary to learn more about one of the music industry’s greenest musicians and how the island of Oahu deals with its food waste.

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7 Exciting Findings from ReFED’s Food Waste Report

One solution to food waste is developing the market for imperfect produce

Photo: lukestehr via Flickr

A group of the country’s foremost experts and business leaders concerned with food waste convened in Stanford, Calif., on March 9 for the release of a report that could be a turning point in the movement to reduce food waste in the United States. The first of its kind, the report looks at the problem of food waste through an economic lens. It analyzes the costs and benefits of various solutions to the problem and offers up strategies for putting the solutions into action. Here are some of the most exciting findings.

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Top 5 Food Waste Trends of 2015

City Harvest Lead Distribution Center Associate Kareem Weekes at work with a rider pallet jack and rescued carrots before U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Deputy Administrator Stan Meiberg will join with private industry and charitable organizations represented by City Harvest Executive Director Jilly Stephens, Food Marketing Institute President and CEO Leslie Sarasin; and Feeding America Chief Supply Chain Officer Bill Thomas, to announce the United States’ first food waste reduction goals at City Harvest’s food recycling facility in Long Island City, N.Y., on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

It seems that food waste is having a moment.

When we launched I Value Food a year ago, we knew the food waste issue was starting to get more attention, but we couldn’t foresee the tremendous progress the movement would make in 12 months. Looking back, 2015 may go down in history as the year Americans finally looked eye-to-eye with the 70-billion-pound mountain of food waste and decided to dismantle it.

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Our Most Popular Food and Fuel Stories of 2015

How to make KCups less wasteful

Photo via Li Tsin Soonon Flickr

In case you missed any, here’s a roundup of our most popular blog posts of 2015. As you can see by this list, our readers are more interested than ever in learning about the food waste problem and finding ways to fix it. On the fuel side, stories about innovation and idling reduction were popular, too.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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