AIF Blog

Keeping Good Food Out of the Trash

Nov 18, 2016

Rep. Chellie Pingree, former White House chef Sam Kass, and President of the Daily Table Doug Rauch at Spotlight Health 2016.

Before you toss out leftovers this Thanksgiving, consider where that food goes. Thirty to forty percent of America’s food supply is wasted each year, with much of it bypassing hungry mouths and instead rotting in landfills where it becomes a potent contributor to global warming. The US Department of Agriculture estimates 133 billion pounds were wasted in 2010 alone. That’s $161 billion worth of food.

“I think the most inefficient of all major human systems is how we feed ourselves,” says former White House chef and food activist Sam Kass. He spoke at Spotlight Health in June. Last year, Kass and other top chefs served food waste during a lunch at the United Nations in New York City. Menu items included Landfill Salad and a vegetable burger served on a “repurposed bread bun,” according to the Washington Post. “We served them wasted food, and it was crazy because Ban Ki-moon, Xi Jinping, Angela Merkel, and many dozens of world leaders were there,”says Kass. He and chef Dan Barber opened the UN meeting and presented problems around the intersection of food waste and climate change. Food waste falls only behind the US and China as the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, according to National Geographic. Consumers, Kass points out, are the biggest contributors of food waste—even above farmers, food distributors, and manufacturers. ”We all know the terrible feeling of what it feels like to throw away really good food in our own homes,” says Kass.

This Thanksgiving, think again before tossing the leftovers. Here, the Huffington Post offers 8 Clever Ways To Waste Less Food.

Watch the Spotlight Health session Waste Not: Keeping Good Food Out of the Trash:

By Marci Krivonen, Associate Editor/Producer, Public Programs