Big Red Flag

Seattle sanitation crews are tagging garbage cans that violate the city’s new food waste ban, reports Amy Radil:

“As Watkins made the rounds in Maple Leaf, a residential neighborhood of Seattle, earlier this month, he appeared disheartened to find an entire red velvet cake in someone’s trash bin. Any household with more than 10 percent food in its garbage earns a bright red tag notifying it of the infraction.

“‘Right now, I’m tagging probably every fifth can,’ Watkins says. ‘I don’t know if that’s just the holidays, or the fact that I’m actually paying a lot more attention.'”

Digging into the Food Waste Problem

Rob Greenfield takes a novel approach to fighting food waste: dumpster diving.

“Each year, 40 percent of all food produced and grown goes to waste in the United States. And much of it is perfectly edible. In 2014, Greenfield decided to eat only out of dumpsters during a 1,000-mile bicycle tour from the Heartland to New York City. In every city Greenfield has visited, he’s found enough wasted food to feed hundreds of people. But rather than champion dumpster diving as a way of life, he hopes it is a fleeting practice.

“‘The goal is to have dumpster diving go away in my lifetime,’ Greenfield says. ‘We’re trying to feed hungry people and do it in a just way rather than making them eat out of the trash.’ He wants to turn more people into food waste advocates by maybe seeing (and even eating) wasted food when statistics fail.”

Divide and Conquer

To reduce food waste, the city of Vancouver has made it illegal to put food scraps into regular garbage, reports Katherine Martinko:

“There will be a six-month grace period for residents to become accustomed to separating organic and household wastes and for garbage haulers to learn to identify the illegal waste, and then penalties will start being applied in July 2015.

“Vancouver is already a forward-looking city with an excellent track record when it comes to recycling – about 60 percent, which is among North America’s highest rates. The city’s goal is to recycle 70 percent of its waste by 2015 and 80 percent by 2020. Implementing the organics ban will help make that happen.”

Waste Not, Want Not

Katherine Boehrer lists “11 easy ways to reduce food waste”:

“America has a food waste problem. A big one. In 2012, we threw away a fifth of the food that was grown, harvested, and bought, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Here’s another way to imagine that—each day we throw away enough food to fill up the Rose Bowl stadium.”