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Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective
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Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective

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Presentation for the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on a systems and resource valuation approach to reducing food waste.

Presentation for the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on a systems and resource valuation approach to reducing food waste.

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  • 1. Minimizing Food Waste: A Systems Approach with a Resource Valuation Perspective Presentation for the US Environmental Protection Agency Steven M. Finn www.responsecology.com
  • 2. Disclaimer• This presentation has been provided as part of EPA’s Sustainable Food Management Webinar Series. This document does not constitute EPA policy. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation of use. Links to non-EPA websites do not imply any official EPA endorsement of or a responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data, or products presented at those locations or guarantee the validity of the information provided. Links to non-EPA servers are provided solely as a pointer to information that might be useful to EPA staff and public. ResponsEcology
  • 3. IntroductionFood waste in the US – and globally – is a criticalproblem requiring systemic change with a long-term sustainability focus ResponsEcology
  • 4. Our Current Illusion“Industrialized nations need to learn what it means tolive in scarcity – because the appearance of infiniteabundance is an illusion.” Tristram Stuart, Waste. 2009. ResponsEcology
  • 5. The Illusion Persists• It is reflected in our everyday attitudes and actionshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJs_dnj6g_M&feature=relmfu• Do we find this commercial offensive?• What does it say about our collective mindset? ResponsEcology
  • 6. Valuing Food and Resources• How much do we value food?• The resources to produce it?• How often do we consider the weaknesses of the food system, and the waste that results? ResponsEcology
  • 7. The Problem in Numbers• Roughly one third of all edible food produced annually for human consumption goes to waste – about 1.3 billion tons per year (Gustavson, et al. www.fao.org, 2011)• Roughly 50% of food is wasted from field to fork (Lundqvist, 2008)• Waste estimate in US:100 billion lbs. of food/yr.(Enough to eliminate hunger)(www.ampleharvest.org) ResponsEcology
  • 8. The Big DisconnectWe waste roughly 30-50% of food produced, yet:• Roughly 870 million people around the world or 1 in 8) are hungry, with more than 850 million in developing countries (FAO, 2012)• In the US, 50 million people lived in food insecure households in 2011 (Feeding America, 2012).• We need to feed another 2 billion by 2050• Resources are limited/environment is challenged ResponsEcology
  • 9. A Dysfunctional CircleCurrent Food System: Roughly half of food lost along the way ResponsEcology
  • 10. The Impact of Dysfunction• We’re producing more than we need in developed countries• At every stage we are devoting finite resources to produce food that we eventually discard• In the final stages we inflict even more harm on the environment by disposing of food that we did not use (methane emissions, groundwater)• We fail to divert billions of tons of excess food to eliminate hunger ResponsEcology
  • 11. The Result: Wasted Nutrition & Resources ResponsEcology
  • 12. A Time for Change• Change is needed now• At multiple levels• We need to “re-think” the food system using a systems approach and a resource valuation perspective• The problem of food waste needs to be on the national agenda in the US ResponsEcology
  • 13. Choices Regarding Excess FoodEPA Hierarchy view: • How do we make this second nature for all? • How do we go even further? • It’s about valuing our resources, especially our food • Requires a long term versus short term view ResponsEcology
  • 14. Mindset ChangeWe need mindset change for sustainablebehavior:• Social impact• Environmental impact• Resource Efficiency(i.e. people, planet, profit) ResponsEcology
  • 15. Limited Resources• We’ve caught on to the need to conserve resources to some degree, but much less so with excess foodWe need to:• Value our food more• Value the resources used to produce our food• Utilize resources efficiently and sustainably; focus on minimizing waste• Example: Consider food waste in developing countries versus developed countries (opposite); infrastructure and mindset issues ResponsEcology
  • 16. Designing for Change• Food system must be redesigned for the ideal• Systems approach; idealized design that values resources for sustainable performance• Recognition of need to feed 9 billion by 2050; and rising incomes put more strain on resources worldwide• Minimize waste, efficiently capture and redirect excess food• Shift toward local and regenerative production ResponsEcology
  • 17. Key Themes to Consider• Awareness• Education• Mindset Change – Individual, Consumer, Government• Incentives – Financial, Environmental, Social• Long Term Thinking• Public-Private Partnerships• Pilot Projects – Local• Promote Success• Measurement – Show value• National /Global Focus ResponsEcology
  • 18. Raising the Awareness Level• Overcome the discomfort• Communicate the statistics on food waste – they are powerfulConnect them to:• Hunger• Environmental harm• Wasted resourcesBehavior change dependson awareness fueling desirefor positive action ResponsEcology
  • 19. Education• Educated consumers are critical toward demand efforts to minimize food waste, or recover and distribute excess, from business and government• Educate producers on how to maximize donations of excess• Educate business on savings from redirecting excess food• Tie to health care costs of obesity• Tie to environmental issues• Reestablish connection to land; and origin/value of food products• New programs on food security and challenges related to population• Start early in schools ResponsEcology
  • 20. Mindset Change• Make the connection between hunger and food waste personal• Change the “culture of abundance” mindset; we can’t afford it• We need a new “compact” between the consumer and the food industry• Change attitudes toward imperfections (consumer) and accepted waste (food retailers) (Bloom 2010)• Trash is too easy; change operations to donate or freeze excess for later distribution to the needy• Overcome liability fears; take extra steps to achieve food recovery in accordance with Good Samaritan law ResponsEcology
  • 21. Incentives• Increase cost of food to landfill• Deductions for direct donations, reprocessing work, and infrastructure to enable recovery• Logistics support and backhauls (Rauch, 2011)• Industry – zero waste Discarded steaks• Positive publicity• CSR/Community building ResponsEcology
  • 22. Think Long Term“At present we are stealing the future, selling it in thepresent, and calling it gross domestic product. We canjust as easily have an economy that is based on healingthe future instead of stealing it.” (Hawken, 2009)• Current efforts to reduce food waste (including food recovery) are important to fill immediate needs• Much potential for partnerships; they provide valuable learning for food system redesign• Long term systems view with a sustainability focus is essential to reduce serious cost of food waste ResponsEcology
  • 23. Creative Partnerships• Seek growers or retailers with excess• Partner with food banks or community for labor• Seek relationships where a portion of production goes directly to food agency• Conversion facilities at retailers; reprocess and flash freeze for distribution• Larger scale: New Deal-type projects – match excess food to be harvested and converted with those seeking jobs ResponsEcology
  • 24. Pilot Projects• Connecting with farmers• Most farmers have excess periodically• Create partnerships to capture excess food and redistribute• Communicate benefits in terms of financial savings, social and environment benefits• Establish reliable pick-ups to ensure stability• Get creative with reprocessing ideas ResponsEcology
  • 25. Build on Successful Programs• Success breeds success; spreads elsewhere• Recent food recovery programs in PA have captured tens of thousands of pounds of produce that would have gone to waste• Healthy competition• Promote local connections to ease logistics of food recovery• Harness the power of dedicated individuals (the power of small) in local communities• Get creative with reprocessing ideas ResponsEcology
  • 26. Measure• Quantify the cost impact of food losses more clearly• Quantify the positive impact of reducing food waste in terms of resource benefits (water, air, soil)• Use results to drive policy ResponsEcology
  • 27. National (US) and Global Focus• Add to the political agenda (take lesson from Europe)• US take on leadership role• Establish National Commission in US for driving educational effort and legislation• National Ad campaign• Partnerships with industry and other countries• Infrastructure assistance to developing countries ResponsEcology
  • 28. Lessons from Europe• European Parliament has addressed food waste; we need a national commission in the US to coordinate similar action• http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/pressroom/content /20120118IPR35648/html/Parliament-calls-for-urgent- measures-to-halve-food-wastage-in-the-EU ResponsEcology
  • 29. Questions?For additional information, please contactSteven M. Finn at info@responsecology.com ResponsEcology
  • 30. References• Bloom, American Wasteland, 2010• FAO, SOFI report, 2012• Finn, Sustainable Food Recovery Programs, 2011• Gustavson et al., Global Food Losses and Food Waste, 2011• Hawken, University of Portland Commencement Address, 2009• Lundqvist, SIWI Policy Brief, 2008• Rauch, Solving the American Food Paradox, 2011• Stuart, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, 2009• www.ampleharvest.org• www.feedingamerica.org ResponsEcology

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