Sorting Waste

The National Restaurant Asociation’s 2007 Restaurant Show concluded Tuesday. While I wasn’t able to attend–they make journalists jump through many, many hoops–apparently environmental awareness was a big theme there.

Exhibitors displayed plenty of recycling innovations like compostable cups made from corn. Much more exciting, though, LeanPath, Inc. unveiled its ValuWaste product. This product assesses the composition of food waste in a restaurant or cafeteria’s waste, allowing its managers to reduce that squandering.

The Portland-based company collected data for two years at participating schools, hospitals and office cafeterias and found that 63 percent of food waste came from making too much. That “overproduction” dwarfs the next biggest source–kitchen trimmings at 20 percent.

Also, preconsumer waste comprises 4 to 7 percent of the total food cost. That’s before customers have a chance to throw away half their plates. The full data is found in this article, but in general: “Based on dollars lost, the foods most wasted are starches, produce and soup.”



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