Do Those Veggie Scraps Mean Anything?

It has been a busy few days for food waste on the National media Public Radio front. First, Marketplace had this look at the Economics of Wasted Leftovers. Then, Talk of the Nation ran an in-depth conversation about waste (which included my perspective).

Next, Morning Edition examined why restaurants don’t prioritize food waste in a D.C.-based piece. Most journalists and media outlets, including NPR, have been content to fold all the angles into one segment, but to their credit, reporter Eliza Barclay and NPR followed Tuesday’s piece with another that focused on the struggle to reduce waste at one restaurant.

After the macro piece on restaurant food waste, it was enlightening to hear a micro look at one eatery’s efforts. The segment centered on Mario Batali restauran Lupa’s attempts to trim waste through the LeanPath system. In one of the better pieces I’ve heard on food waste, we get to eavesdrop on kitchen conversations featuring LeanPath President Andrew Shakman and the Lupa staff, including their Chef Cruz Goler.

the LeanPath system in action

The LeanPath experiment at Lupa fizzled due to employee and chef apathy. The problem boiled down to a question that I’m often faced with: Why should those in the food industry care about a bunch of veggie scraps?

The segment included a refreshing amount of candor and complexity. For a topic that tends to be painted in black and white, it was nice to hear a piece noting the tones of gray in the food waste discussion.

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