What a Waste

While Europe has been paying attention to how much food it wastes for a few months now, it’s taken a while for the issue to come up on the mainstream media’s radar over here.

But yesterday’s New York Times changed that with “One Country’s Table Scraps, Another Country’s Meal,” a piece that explores both our shameful statistics (we waste nearly 30 percent of all available food—or at least we did in 1997, the last year a comprehensive food-waste study was done in this country) as well as programs that are trying to address it (food-recovery organizations; San Francisco’s citywide compost-collection service).

Unlike Great Britain, which launched a national campaign to curtail food waste among its citizens, efforts here are piecemeal and neither funded nor particularly supported by the U.S. government. The article notes that the last major food-waste campaign, started under Bill Clinton, was killed by the Bush administration. Will the rising costs of food make us all more conscious of how much we waste? Jonathan Bloom, of the Wasted Food blog, says in the Times piece, “The fundamental thing that I’m fighting against is, ‘why should I care? I paid for it.’ The rising prices are really an answer to that.”

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