Food waste has reached epidemic proportions in the lands of the rich and the plentiful, and the reported figures are staggering – one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally.
Approximately 40 percent of the food produced in the US goes to waste each year, totalling 63 million tonnes, of which 10.1 million tonnes never even get harvested from farms, and 52.4 million tonnes ends up in landfills uneaten.
Even more astounding is that the US spends $218 billion per year growing, manufacturing, processing, distributing, and then disposing of food that never makes its way onto the table.
In the UK, a committee of MPs reported that 7.3 million tonnes of food – equating to more than 10 billion pounds worth – was thrown away by UK households in 2015.
“The explosion in food poverty and the use of foodbanks is a national disgrace.” Oxfam
As a nation, The Netherlands is taking action with its National Food Waste Policy, but one former university student has made a huge difference to the way people in her country now perceives and manages their unwanted waste.
Taste Before You Waste
Taste Before You Waste (TBYW) began as an unofficial project in November 2012. The power behind the foundation is anti-food waste activist, Luana Carretto, who was galvanised into action after watching a documentary on the enormous amounts of food thrown away every day.
Luana approached local shops who were throwing food away and discovered they were happy to give this to her instead. Along with husband Dennis, Luana collected the unwanted food and delivered it to refugees. They soon realised this was unsustainable and so Luana set up her organisation TBYW.
By 2015, it had evolved into a fully functioning, informally organised, grass-root project ‘solely fuelled by the passion and endurance of its community’. Businesses began to pay for TBYW’s services and activities and on 10th of February 2016, Taste Before You Waste registered in the Chamber of Commerce and became an official Foundation.
Its mission is simple:
‘To raise awareness about the enormous amount of food that is thrown away every day and educate people about what they can do to prevent this from continuing.’
With knowledge of the problem and its solutions, the Foundation strives to inspire consumers to take matters into their own hands and be part of the solution. It now makes donations to charities, holds free-food markets and ‘No-Waste’ community dinners, caters at events and holds educational workshops.
Sources and Further Reading
TEDxAUCollege – Taste Before You Waste, Luana Carretto
Taste Before You Waste Policy Plan 2016-2021
Keeping Food Out of the Landfill
Walking The Breadline
The Netherlands – Country Report on national food waste policy
Image courtesy of YouTube