Globally a year’s production of uneaten food guzzles as much water as the entire annual flow of the Volga, Europe’s most voluminous river. Growing the 133 billion pounds of food that retailers and consumers discard in the United States annually slurps the equivalent of more than 70 times the amount of oil lost in the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to American Wasteland author Jonathan Bloom. But recent news regarding food waste create some hopes that, finally, after many years of inertia and while Southern Africa experiences a serious food crisis, food waste management becomes a mainstream approach, as many international organisations have already suggested.
Few days ago, the Scottish Government has pledged to reduce the nation’s food waste by one third over the next nine years – a plan that would save businesses and households across the country more than £500m if successful. Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead today (23 February) unveiled the publication of Scotland’s first ever circular economy strategy, outlining bold plans to significantly reduce waste in the food and construction sectors and promote recycling and reuse across the country. “The Scottish Food Waste Reduction Target is the first of its kind in Europe,” Lochhead said. “Pledging to cut food waste by 33% by 2025 will put Scotland at the forefront of global action to tackle food waste, and will put us on track to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste by 2030. More details can be found here. Let’s hope that other governments will follow with similar bold initiatives.
It seems that the issue of food waste attracts also many startups that try to raise funds for creating new business-models that will stimulate food waste prevention. Foodcloud, in Dublin, Ireland, has developed a mobile and web app and participating business can describe their food surplus that hey would otherwise throw out. Nearby charities and other organizations in need of food receive messages if they could benefit from the surplus of food described.
Coldhubs, another startup from Nigeria, is a ‘plug and play’ modular, solar-powered walk-in cold room, for 24/7 off-grid storage and preservation of perishable foods. It adequately addresses the problem of post- harvest losses in fruits, vegetables and other perishable food.”
Another interesting idea is developed by California Safe Soil. This company is a fresh food recycler that creates a fertilizer using produce that is too spoiled to sell at supermarkets. These complex sources of nutrition are a great source of nutrition and energy for soil organisms and plants.
A more complex but interesting approach is followed by UK’s TakeStock that developed an eCommerce marketplace for the food industry, as they say the “eBay for food”. It connects large suppliers with surplus to bargain hunters and offers equipment for hospitality industry in addition to food products for sale.
Spoiler Alert was launched recently by MIT Sloan Business School Students. It is a mobile and web-based platform that creates a dynamic, online marketplace for food donations, discounted food sales, and waste recovery opportunities. Food businesses, farms, and nonprofits can use our platform for food donations, discounted food sales, and organic waste recovery opportunities.
Let’s hope that those startups will drive the innovation required for successful food-waste prevention.