Sustainable America Blog

Now Showing: ‘Wasted! The Story of Food Waste’

A still from Wasted: The Story of Food Waste

Today is opening day for Wasted! The Story of Food Waste. The new documentary, executive produced by Anthony Bourdain, aims to expose new audiences to the global problem of food waste and, ultimately, change our relationship to food.

The film, which The San Francisco Gate calls “both sobering and uplifting,” opens at theaters around the country and is streaming through iTunes, Amazon and Xfinity. It features an all-star line-up of celebrity chefs — Dan Barber, Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, Anthony Bourdain, Massimo Bottura, Danny Bowien — that are hoping to open their fans eyes about this problem and challenge them to contribute to the solutions, of which there are many.

As the film points out, we need to care about the food waste problem because one-third of food produced is never eaten, because it’s costing America $218 billion annually, because 800 million people global citizens don’t have enough to eat. And most importantly, because it is a solvable problem.

Bourdain hasn’t been as vocal about food system issues as celeb chef counterparts like Tom Colicchio or Dan Barber, but he’s seen the issue firsthand as a travel TV host. In the interview, below, with Fast Company, Bourdain says that if the only people who watch the film are already food waste activists, he’ll be very sad. He wants to reach “the people who will be shocked and freaked out by the obscene amount of delicious, usuable food and money that we are as a nation — as a world — throwing out.”

So grab a friend who might not be up to speed on food waste and go see or stream the movie. If it inspires you to make changes, we’ve got everything you need to take action over at Our 4-week Too Good to Waste Challenge helps you do a home food waste audit, a technique even top chefs use to keep waste at bay, and find the right strategies to be part of the solution.

8 Ways to Take Action on Food Waste
How to Reduce Food Waste Like a Chef
5 Ways to Get Involved in Food Rescue

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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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