Months later Dana Gunders with the National Resource Defense Council issued a concise, well-written two-page document,Your scraps add up, reducing food waste can save money and resources, that details facts in easy to understand graphs, lists simple behavioral changes, and includes ample live links to resources for those who choose to dig deeper. The document inspired the ZWA Blog's most popular post, Reduce First, Donate Second, Compost Third.
In August, 2012 the NRDC released an Issue Paper, Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill, researched and written by Dana. The paper serves as a well-organized, easy to access and quotable document for the plethora of recent wasted food stories in national media outlets.
|food waste image from the
SmartPlanet article post
Using the NRDC issue paper along with examples from Dana and other sources, Kevin grounds the article with facts of the current situation. According to the Dutch journal Food Policy, an estimated $47 billion annually year is lost at the retail and consumer levels each each year. Many corporate and personal consumers do not hear the environmental call to action. Yet when rephrased into the dollar impact on the pocketbook or bottom line, a voice comes forth that evokes action.
|GA World Congress Center
In February, 2009 the GWCC hosted the Zero Waste Zones launch at a prominent press conference led by the acting regional director of the U.S. EPA, Region IV. The ZWZ launch put Atlanta in the national sustainability spotlight with tremendous media response, including the CNN ZWZ Story featured on CNN.com's home page during Earth Week 2009. As a founding ZWZ Participant, the GWCC was one of the first, if not THE first, Atlanta foodservice operator to source-separate food waste for compost collection.
|GWCC food waste awaiting
collection for composting
In 2012 the Georgia Dome, one of three venues on the GWCC campus, accepted the Sustainable Food Court Initiative invitation to serve as the Event Venue Pilot. The ZWA Blog post, Georgia Dome - SFCI Event Venue Pilot!, announces the pilot and the GA Dome SFCI Team Tour post is an overview of the Dome's established zero waste practices - impressive!
In the SmartPlant article, Tim validates the economics supporting the GWCC's sustainability commitment, “It’s a competitive advantage and it sets us apart because we’ve made it a priority,”
Affairs to Remember general manager Patrick Cuccaro attributes $250,000 in revenues directly to the prestigious off-premises catering company's zero waste practices. The astute consumer includes zero waste practices in their decision making criteria. Result: increased revenue!
Food waste reduction is in direct proportion to cost-savings and bottom line improvement. Beyond Executive Chef Ahmad Nourzad's eagle watch in the kitchen, Patrick reduced food waste by evolving menu selections in the proposal process. With more consumers requesting local, seasonal cuisine, ATR found it was an easy sell to include "chef's choice" for produce items. Thus, menu synergy is created and Chef Ahmad may maximize produce use, minimizing waste.
|Chef Ahmad in action
Photo courtesy of ATR
“If you are not in this conversation in the next two or three years, you are going to be increasingly less relevant to the buying public. Because it’s a mega-movement, not a trend, that is moving up the food chain and the age chain. The younger you are and the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to understand it. All types of corporations are going to figure it out or be left in the dust.”Atlanta's food waste heroes keep the City in the national sustainability spotlight. While the SmartPlanet article focuses on the business perspective, the story has many flavors. In November Martha Stewart's Whole Living published Spoil Alert, a feature article by Elizabeth Royt that emphasized the vast range of food waste reduction programs in place throughout Atlanta's corporate and private communities. The ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Wasted Food Heroes in National Spotlight, is a Spoil Alert overview with anecdotes not included in print.
|Whole Living issue
with Spoil Alert article
Food waste is prevalent throughout the entire food system: from the farms, the food processors, the distribution centers, the retail operators - grocery stores, markets and foodservice outlets, and to the consumer. Ei is in the initial stages of developing a template to close waste leakages in the foodservice produce distribution systems. The ZWA Blog post, Food Waste Reduction in Foodservice Distribution Channels, gives a program overview detailing the challenges and industry collaboration necessary for success.
As important as the food waste scenario is to the environment, action will germinate from the business perspective, bottom line improvement and customer demands. Thank you Kevin Gray for taking the time to pen an excellent, well-researched food waste article written in a voice corporate America hears.