Welcome to April, also known as Earth Month. Officially, Earth Day is on April 22. Earth Day’s mission is to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations. Reducing food waste and improving our efforts towards sustainability are two ways we can do this.
Below you will find several different ways your corporation’s Dining Services could improve food waste and your sustainability efforts. Some of these are simple tips to incorporate easily and others are more extensive programs to ramp up the sustainability topics with your food service contractor.
- Meatless Monday is a global movement that enables people to make positive changes in their diet simply by choosing not to eat meat one day a week. Click here for a guide with full instructions and tools to start a Meatless Monday program in your organization. This revised edition has been composed using feedback from food service operations professionals at corporate dining cafes.
- Try reducing food costs by designing menus that utilize cast-offs. As an example, take broccoli: use the florets Monday for soup, then Tuesday use the stems for broccoli slaw, and so on. Juice vegetable trim to reduce vegetable waste, using the juice as a healthy drink or in soup or salsa recipes. This results in total utilization of the product instead of increasing food waste.
- Plastic waste is a huge problem because it never really goes away. Plastic does not biodegrade like other organic materials such as wood and paper. Instead we need to start using alternatives to plastics such as reusable bags, bottles, silverware, dishes, cleaning tools, and other products. It’s time to end our obsession with plastic and start protecting our environment.
- Consider selling a reusable container program in your employee dining locations. Offer incentives like once-a-month free breakfast and a discount on certain items to reward your employees who have made the decision to go-green.
- Donate food waste and feed the hungry in your community. By redirecting unspoiled food from landfills to our neighbors in need, individuals can support their local communities and reduce the environmental impact of food waste. Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable foods, as well as, leftovers from events and surplus food inventory can be donated to local food shelters. The federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (http://www.feedingamerica.org/ways-to-give/give-food/become-a-product-partner/protecting-our-food-partners.html) encourages individuals or businesses to donate food to nonprofits by minimizing liability. To help you locate where to donate in your area, click on the following links:
- Where to donate foods
- Finding a Food Bank in your area
According to the Green Restaurant Association, a single restaurant in the US wastes about 100,000 pounds of food a year. As it has been reported, 40% of food in the US is never eaten, but at the same time, one in eight Americans struggles to put enough food on the table. Reducing food waste is possible and necessary.
Following these tips and recommendations, we can all take up a new role to improve American food systems to make them more efficient and less wasteful.