Every night in the city of Los Angeles, there’s an estimated 53,000 homeless people that suffer from hunger. Some other disheartening facts about homelessness in LA are that 15% are family units often headed by a single mother and 25% suffer from mental illness.
Further research reveals it to be an epidemic plaguing the second most populous city in the United States. Faced with these staggering statistics, it’s easy to feel helpless. Rent is skyrocketing and neighborhoods are being gentrified as longtime residents are pushed out. With only 1,270 missions and 24 emergency sheltersin Los Angeles County, solutions to the homeless equation seem akin to trying to solve time travel.
Despite these facts, I’m of the belief that it’s better to try than to succumb to hopelessness. One brand that shares that sentiment is Postmates. In partnership with Working Not Working and Vice, FoodFight! was launched in February of 2018. FoodFight! is a new initiative started by Postmates to combat hunger amongst America’s homeless population and reduce food waste in the restaurant industry. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance conducted a study in 2014 that found 84.3% of unused food in American restaurants is disposed of, 14.3% is recycled, and only 1.4% is donated.
Los Angeles has fast become one of the most generous contributors to the initiative with 4 of the top 5 restaurants being based within the city. This year, Postmates introduced 41 new cities nationwide to deliver food from participating restaurants to those in need. Emily Slade, Working Not Working’s Head of Growth & FoodFight! Ambassador had this to say:
“If we can eliminate the friction in the donation process by making it as easy as calling Postmates to make the food donation delivery, then we can really make an impact.”
While still in it’s pilot phase, FoodFight! is rapidly expanding as more restaurants are participating nationwide. Although it may not be the end all be all in the fight against homelessness and hunger, FoodFight!’s focus on waste reduction within the restaurant industry is a great step towards improving how we manage our leftover food. As FoodFight! continues to grow, restaurants and non-profits are invited to join the initiative by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the food industry looks for more and more ways to reduce its waste, a new service called Loop is making it easier on both the industry and consumer end to recycle re-usable containers.
Photo courtesy of Nestle
The service is a mashup of Amazon Fresh and your old-school milkman. When you order products through Loop, you’ll receive them in new, reusable containers inside a special renewable tote. Once the contents are used up, you can schedule a delivery of new products as well as a pickup of the old containers. You just place them back into the tote, and they’re taken back to their respective companies to be thoroughly sanitized and reused.
Loop encompasses multiple industries and product types, including food. Several major food brands have signed on already, including Nestle (under Häagen-Dazs), Hidden Valley Ranch, Nature’s Path, Hellman’s Mayonnaise, and vegan producer Teva Deli. Other recognizable products on board include Tide, Axe, Dove, Degree, Clorox, and Gillette.
The service is powered by global recycling organization TerraCycle, who already has the capability to help recycle these packages on an international scale. As a result, the implications for waste reduction are numerous, since producers no longer need to utilize as much plastic and raw materials for packaging, and consumers will send less of it to landfills as a result.
Other services also exist that are helping to combat packaging waste through recycling. In Southern California, for example, startup BottleRocket will give you money for all of the recyclables you save. You can schedule a pickup through their site, and each time they collect, the resulting sum from the refund values can be converted into cash, gift cards, or a charity of your choice.
Loop is scheduled to launch its service in the spring of 2019 in the United States and France. You can register on the company’s site to join a waitlist and be notified when it’s ready to go.
Do you usually get rid of leftover bread, cheese, and chicken bones? Don’t do that anymore! There are some foods you shouldn’t throw away, because you can still use them to make tasty things in the kitchen!
Unfortunately, I’m used to throwing food. Not only what remains on the plate, but also the cheese that starts to smell tangy, bones, stalk and roots I don’t use when I cook vegetables. I’m used to getting rid quickly of all the things I don’t eat; I don’t like to see and keep them all around because, sooner or later, they still end up in the trash. But, since one of my New Year’s resolutions is to reduce my expenses, I did some quick research and I figured out how wrong I was. Because there are many foods you shouldn’t throw away, but you totally should use for your future recipes. I thought you may want to know which are the most common foods you shouldn’t throw in the trash, so I’m sharing this with you.
10 foods you shouldn’t throw away
1. Chicken bones
If you happen to buy bone-in chicken pieces – breast and thighs – but you want to cook only the meat, don’t throw away the bones! Save them to make stock. Chicken stock can also be made with chicken meat, but why not cook the meat in a different way and just use the bones?
If you have enough bones, you can boil them right away and keep the stock for later use. If you don’t have enough bones, pack them and keep them into the freezer until you accumulate enough to make a batch and have the time to make the stock.
2. Cheese rinds and leftover cheese
Fromage fort is the solution for your leftover cheese. Fromage fort is the French term for ‘strong cheese’, and it’s a cheese spread made by blending in the food processor together pieces of different leftover cheeses (hard and soft) with white wine, garlic, and various herbs. It helps you get rid of those scraps of cheese you have in the fridge. You can also add your cheese leftovers on pizza or, if you have parmesan rinds, you can add them to boiling soup or pasta sauce.
3. Bacon grease
My grandparents used to cook with lard. I’m not sure when and why I gave up on using grease in cooking. After frying some bacon, I’m in a hurry to throw away all that grease, instead of storing it. What a pity! Saving the grease left from cooking a batch of bacon is a great way to add flavor to future dishes. It seems some of our ancestors’ habits are good to keep even now, in the ‘healthy eating era’.
Use bacon grease when you make pasta, or you roast vegetables, instead of butter when scrambling eggs or frying potatoes, rub it on chicken breasts before roasting or use it when you make caramelized onion.
For storing the grease, we suggest you let your pan sit on the stovetop for a while until the grease cools and solidifies into a layer of fat. Then scoop up the fat with a spatula and add it to a jar. If you don’t want any waste, then you should pour off the fat while it’s hot.
4. Stale bread
There are so many different ways you can use your leftover bread! For example, you can turn dry bread into croutons for soups and salads. Or for homemade breadcrumbs which can be used over casseroles, pasta and baked chicken, or bread pudding, or French toast – which is a great idea you can use to make sure you don’t throw away a bit stale bread.
5. Black bananas
We’ve said it once, and we say it again. Overripe bananas are actually pretty great for making goodies. You can use them right away or place them in the freezer and thaw later for banana bread, muffins, or cake. You can also use them straight from the freezer (without thawing them) in a smoothie or blend them up into a banana ice cream!
6. Vegetable tops
For many years I’ve thought the only part I can eat from the celery is the root. I’ve known for a while that the stalks are also delicious in foods. But I didn’t know I can also use the carrot tops, fennel fronds, and beet greens until recently. They’re edible and tasty too if you know how to use them! You can sauté them with olive oil, garlic, and some of your other favorite greens, or add them into soups. Beet greens are also good in smoothies.
7. Pumpkin and squash seeds
If you decide to make a pumpkin pie or a butternut squash soup, keep in mind that the seeds are foods you shouldn’t throw away. Scrap the seeds and clean them up, let them dry, and then you have the chance to roast them into amazing snacks. You can make them using just some oil or butter and a pinch of salt, but you can also sprinkle some of your favorite spice blends over them before starting the roasting process.
8. Pickle juice
It doesn’t matter if your pickles are bought or homemade. When you finish the pickles, you’re left with the brine and you probably pour it in the sink. Bad idea! Why do that if you can use the pickle brine to pickle other things? Don’t you want to save some time?
Also, pickle brine can be added to salads or salad dressings. Plus, pickle juice is apparently a great hangover cure.
9. Sour milk
I always have cheese and milk in the fridge. I sometimes buy more milk than I anticipate I’ll use, so it may turn sour from time to time. What do I do then? Obviously, I throw it away. But I’ll totally reconsider this because I found out I can make cottage cheese from it!
Seems like all you need is to add vinegar to the heated soured milk and homogenize the liquid as you normally would make cheese. Once the curds are separated, rinse through a colander. And… you’re done!
10. Leftover coffee
You shouldn’t throw your leftover coffee unless you’ve added milk or whipped cream to it. But if you have to leave from home before finishing your morning cup of the amazing dark and bitter liquid, don’t let it go to waste! Leftover coffee can be used into many other things! Not only your afternoon ice coffee but also in marinades! Not to speak about the fabulous tiramisu dessert!
Farms, grocery stores, and homes send 60 million tons of edible food to the landfill annually while 40 million people in the U.S. struggle with food insecurity. Although those statistics are troubling enough, they leave out a significant amount of byproducts that are lost as a result of food processing.
Upcycling is popular in the do-it-yourself community as a way of taking what would be trash and repurposing into functional designs for the home. Edible upcycling is the idea of taking nutritious food byproduct as a result of our beer, juices, and cereal processes and repurposing it for versatile and delicious snacks.
Fortunately, there are a few companies who have seen this opportunity and snatched it up! These are the edible upcycling pioneers of byproducts.
Almost 200 million barrels of beer are brewed annually which means there is an enormous amount of nutritious grain ending up in landfills. Daniel Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz of ReGrained discovered the possibility of repurposing the residual grain while home brewing in college.
In comes Supergrain+ flour, a concoction devised by the team to bring life to this byproduct in an incredibly versatile way. Supergrain+ is unique in its fiber and prebiotic constitution making it exceedingly nutritious. For now, ReGrained has produced granola bars using the flour, but are experimenting its uses. Just recently they tested a pasta recipe by substituting 20% of the usual flour with theirs and discovered that it increased the nutrition substantially.
In 2018 they upcycled about 40,000 pounds of grain and project to reach a million this year. Kurzrock shared that they envision closing the loop between breweries and the consumer to ensure this valuable byproduct is utilized to its full potential.
2. Toast Ale
Now what if the procedure was reversed? Bread is produced by the pounds in order to create the vision of abundance at grocery stores. Far too much bread is baked to satisfy customers even if it’s more than what will sell. Consequently, day old bread is tossed because it no longer appeals to an expectation of perfection despite its utility.
Toast Ale discovered a way to turn that abandoned, yet edible bread into a line of beer. They have developed Pale Ales, IPAs, and craft lagers from bread donated by Adelie Foods of London, UK. Additionally, Toast Ale collaborates with bakeries local to their brewery to create new beers named after its origin city such as Bristol, Sussex, and Nottinghamshire.
3. Coffee Flour
Harvesting of the coffee bean is often not thought of because of its universal presence. There is an abundance of coffee brands and shops to the point where it’s taken for granted. What we don’t realize is that coffee is often harvested by small farmers only three months a year. This means job insecurity is a resonating problem for these farmers for the majority of the time.
Coffee Flour identified a valuable part of the coffee plant that is wasted: the cherries. The coffee plant grows nutritious cherries along with the beans, but they are perceived as a useless byproduct. Farmers dump them in rivers or let them rot in piles without another alternative. This releases methane gas and pollutes valuable river resources.
The founders of Coffee Flour made a revolutionary move by converting these cherries into a nutritious flour containing a ton of fiber, iron, antioxidants, protein, and potassium. This flour can be then used in cookies, breads, granolas, and even ketchup. Not only does Coffee Flour help farmers reduce their pollution and waste, they provide them with a way to harvest throughout the year and secure a sustainable income
4. Wize Monkey
Similarly, Wize Monkey has identified the use of another unappreciated element of the coffee plant: the leaves. Coffee leaves contain beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, but are neglected just like the cherries. The founders of Wize Monkey worked with Nicaraguan farmers to conceive a coffee tea that has the smooth flavor of green tea with the potential to infuse effortlessly with other flavors.
Just like Coffee Flour, Wize Monkey has provided an avenue of income for Nicaraguan farmers without the need to work with a 3rd party company to produce their coffee tea. This could positively impact their education, stability in the home, and future generations to come.
5. Pulp Pantry
Thousands of pounds of organic pulp end up in landfill each week. This pulp actually contains half the nutrients of the original fruit or vegetable with only one-third of the sugar. Pantry Pulp devised a way to upcycle pulp into delicious and nutritious granolas. They source their pulp from juiceries such as Project Juice, Little West, and Made with Love Wellness and give it new life.
When the food waste conversation comes up, some of the most creative solutions to this increasingly troublesome problem come from the culinary perspective. Dan Barber and Ayesha Curry both have their own solid takes on food waste, as does Providence, a Michelin-star restaurant located in Los Angeles. Their bar program features a “zero waste bar” that takes scraps from the kitchen and utilizes them to take their drinks to the next level.
At Providence, bar manager Kim Stodel aims to be a part of the sustainable Providence ecosystem through his innovative usage of upcycled ingredients. While not trained in culinary arts himself, Stodel told UPROXX that he learned from the chefs to make the zero waste bar concept flourish. Considering that the talent at Providence includes the highly acclaimed Michael Cimarusti, Stodel had some incredible assistance that elevated the drinks to a whole new level.
Their Muay Thai, for example, contains a rum infused with leftover ginger, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaf that provides a knockout aromatic punch. Stodel also creates syrups, oils, and garnishes from other kitchen scraps like lemon peels that add new dimensions and layers to each cocktail on his menu.
By reutilizing these ingredients, Providence and Kim Stodel are transforming what it really means to be a “zero waste” restaurant concept. Hopefully, their model is one that many other restaurants will convert to in the future to help reduce our food waste footprint even further.
It’s not every day that you get a high-class celebrity chef to cook for you. One lucky couple, however, was able to get Dan Barber from Netflix’s Chef’s Table to cook for them.
Barber and his team from Blue Hill at Stone Barns themed the entire meal around zucchini. Each course put the vegetable front and center, but focused more on waste products as the meal progressed. From the tops and cores of the vegetable to the stems of zucchini leaves, no part went to waste.
Dan Barber is famous for crafting meals out of food waste, and his prowess there led to the above video. Barber teamed up with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Ad Council to produce the ad. Overall, the commercial aims to get us thinking about how to reuse scraps of food that would otherwise be discarded.
It’s important to think about reusing food to save more for others. In this country, 40 percent of all food goes to waste, which could be enough to feed nearly every American suffering from hunger. Unfortunately, households are where most food waste issues occur. However, several resources are available to those wanting to limit their food waste.
Each year, about 40 percent of food in this country gets wasted, which is an insanely high number. That statistic gets even crazier when you break down the nutritional content of that food.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University were able to do that with retail and consumer-level food waste across 213 different commodities based on 2012 nutritional data, and concluded that each person wastes over 1200 calories per day. The principal researcher, Dr. Roni Neff, told USA Today that that amount of nutrition would be enough to sustain 84% of the US population.
Outside of calories, the research also analyzed nutritional content and found that the amount of dietary fiber lost to food waste could fill the nutritional gap in fiber consumed by 206.6 million women. Several other nutrients, including potassium, calcium, and protein, were also analyzed to see how many were lost to food waste, and it was found that many other dietary gaps around these nutrients could be filled via the food currently being tossed away.
Dr. Neff highlighted the importance of this study in a statement:
“This study offers us new ways of appreciating the value of wasted food. While not all food that is wasted could or should be recovered, it reminds us that we are dumping a great deal of high quality, nutritious food that people could be enjoying.”
Food waste stems from a variety of sources at both the consumer and retail level, but the best way to contain it, according to Dr. Neff, is by stopping food waste at its source, aka the production level.
Nonetheless, we can all take steps at home to limit food waste and bring that nutrition back into our food supply to feed many more people the proper nutrition they require.
Kraft American cheese singles are often regarded as one of the prime examples of unhealthy, processed food in the food industry. However, they’re also a traditional way to combat one of the most trending issues in food today: food waste.
To understand how Kraft Singles fight food waste, you have to become familiar with how this pasteurized cheese product is made. USDA research chemist Michael Tunick gave Business Insider a great explanation of how it happens.
“They grind them up and they add an emulsifier so that it holds together and it’s processed in a way so that it melts easily.“
By “them,” Tunick means old or “reject” cheeses, typically those that are over-aged, off in flavor quality by just a little bit, or those that a company wasn’t able to sell. What Kraft and other processed cheese makers do is purchase those cheeses at a discount, grind and melt them down, then mix them together with an emulsifier (such as calcium or sodium phosphate) to keep the different cheeses and their moisture from separating from the fats inside of cheese. Whey and milk protein can also be added based on the type of cheese product being made.
This isn’t something that came about with the age of processed food, but was actually developed earlier in Switzerland, according to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, author of The Science of Melting Cheese. Canadian-American cheese salesman and entrepreneur James Kraft then perfected and patented that method in 1916 to begin selling his version of the processed cheese that we all know and consume today.
The original purpose of this melting technique was to make a usable product out of leftover cheese that was going to go to waste. That’s the exact principle of why we repurpose so many other foods in the industry today, including juice pulps, spent beer grains, and “ugly produce.” The only difference is that Kraft has been doing it for so long that it’s often neglected in the rise of new food waste-derived products.
While this doesn’t change the fact that to me, at least, Kraft Singles don’t taste that good, if you do get down with American cheese every once in a while, you can feel good knowing that you’re helping tackle the global food waste issue at least a little bit by keeping some cheeses from being discarded.