[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwGHlUAj078&w=440&h=253] No one ever enjoys wasting something of their own – time, money, opportunities – so, why do we waste so much food, especially when there are almost a billion hungry people in the world?  Ever been at a meeting where food was provided and noticed how much was left over?  There are many answers to the question of why, probably too many to list here.  But regardless of why it is created in the first place, the consequences of food waste are dire (e.g. wasted money, wasted energy in waste transport and food production, wasted space in landfills, excess CO2, methane, and leachate emissions).

Without getting into exactly why people are wasting so much food, we can talk about solutions.  One non-profit, City Harvest, collects wasted food at restaurants to give to the hungry.  They’ve recently launched a smartphone app to help restaurant goers navigate to a restaurant from which City Harvest will collect.

Think that’s fueling the food waste by encouraging eating out, where portions tend to be much too large?  What if City Harvest teamed up with Halfsies, another non-profit that partners with restaurants so that customers can “go halfsies” – pay full price for half the food with proceeds going to helping those in need of food.

Some cities have started creating value out of food waste by composting household and commercial organic material (see Portland, San Francisco, Rapid City, South Dakota, and Ottawa).

You can even capture the gas emissions from compost to convert to green energy.

Looking forward to award submissions relating to solving the food waste problem in Birmingham, England!

- Terra Curtis 

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