World Environment Day Recap

Yesterday was World Environment Day, and it was raining food waste activism. If only every day could be World Environment Day! (Not quite as catchy as ‘Earth Day every day,’ but you get the idea…).

I had a hard time keeping track of all that happened yesterday in Food Waste World, so I’m guessing you did too. Here’s a rundown to help us both:

First of all, Pope Francis vaulted to the top of my Papal Top 5 by declaring that “Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry.”

And Il Papa had some other great lines, invoking a culture of waste and the generational shift that has enabled our vast waste.

My main takeaway: The Pope! Talking about food waste. That set the bar pretty high.

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The United Nations took the baton from Rome and ran with the issue. The UN Environment Programme released a new study finding that more than half of the food wasted in the US, Europe and most of the developed world happens at the consumption stage (homes, restaurants, caterers).

Here’s the full study, produced in conjunction with the World Resources Institute. Another key finding: halving current waste levels would reduce by 20 percent the increased amount of food we’d need to produce to meet 2050 population estimates.

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Goes with this year’s Think.Eat.Save theme, which includes practical advice (and even more consumer advice!), an ad campaign contest open to all, and this dramatic video and this hilarious one:

(here are all UNEP videos)
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Speaking of dry English wit, Feeding the 5K launched The Pig Idea yesterday. What’s The Pig Idea? It’s a return to feeding food scraps to hogs (and reversing the EU ban on doing so).

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Elsewhere, Italy’s Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) continues to push food waste awareness, and yesterday’s mind-blowing video/infographic illustrated that commitment.

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Meanwhile, the BCFN’s e-magazine Combating Waste is fabulous. I wrote a piece on American food waste on page 34.

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In the U.S., Food Tank co-founder Danielle Nierenberg published this op-ed on reducing food waste. And then, kind souls that they are, Food Tank published this Q & A with yours truly. Food Waste Fighter has a nice ring to it…It’s certainly catchier than World Environment Day!

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Last but far from least, the USDA and EPA launched the US Food Waste Challenge on Tuesday in conjunction with World Environment Day (it was the only day everyone could make it). Here’s my recap of the kickoff event, as well as this thoughtful piece from the NRDC blog. General Mills, Unilever and a few other food companies have joined the challenge, and hopefully many more will follow suit!

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Whew! That’s a lot of encouraging action for one day. And I’ll update this further if more comes to light. Above all else–let’s keep up the momentum!


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