american wasteland (part too)-jonathan bloom

“While this 1980s Gordon Gekko ‘greed is good’ era has long passed, the culinary excess has remained. The catering business, specifically, and the food industry in general may not be as extravagant now as it was then, but the sheer prevalence of food is still extreme. And food or ‘food-like products’ are sold just about everywhere these days-at gas stations, pharmacies, even Home Depot and Bed, Bath and Beyond. When some people I know drink too much, they use the euphemism that they were ‘overserved’. While they’re obviously being facetious, the average American restaurant patron could use that term with all seriousness.” (68)

“In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be a need to peruse Dumpsters. Instead, more stores could give away foods not fit to be sold. I’m not confident that this will ever happen, at least not on a large scale, but it would be a nobler way of enabling the divers and freegans to do what they’re already doing anyway-eating from our excess. The store would save on its waste-removal bill and limit the likelihood of those pesky freegans or actual hungry people going through their trash. More ‘give’ might result in less ‘take’. But, one may ask, would that mean fewer donations to food pantries, food banks, and food-recovery operations? It wouldn’t have to, as these contributions could be items that food banks wouldn’t accept.” (257)

“We expect convenience stores to have fresh food available all day. And when an establishment promises to have fresh food and drink ready at any hour, it will throw out a fair amount of product. That expectation, coupled with the increase of prepared foods, leads to a staggering amount of waste. Timothy Jones, the former University of Arizona anthropology researcher who has studied loss throughout the food chain, found that convenience stores waste 26 percent of their product, by far the highest percentage of the sector. Nationwide, that means more than 5 million pounds of food every day.” (74-5)

“There is no way to resell the items you’ve already brought. You can’t sell off that extra pound of meat that you bought ‘just to be on the safe side.’ Food’s perishability and our social norms preclude a secondary market for household foods. Craigslist has created many new markets, but this isn’t one of them. Even with shelf-stable foods, I haven’t heard of any peer-to-peer food selling.” (25)

“When solid waste rots in a landfill, it emits methane…..Although methane is nowhere near as common as carbon dioxide, it’s much more harmful. Methane has been found to trap heat far more effectively than carbon dioxide, with estimates of its ‘global warming potential’ (GWP) 21-25 times more than that of the CO2 over a 100-year period.In other words, sending food to the landfill aids global warming in a major way.” (16)

“Buying three shirts and then throwing one away would be regarded as unorthodox behavior. But buying a sandwich and eating half and throwing the other half away is not,” Sen said over his salad. (27)

“By throwing cheap, unhealthy offerings at our kids, we devalue food. It introduces them to our culture of waste, as they learn that food is something to be discarded. Even the poorest of schoolchildren in the United States-for whom hunger is familiar-learn to throw away trays of food.” (62)

“That means that the availability of top-notch produce is more important to shoppers than low prices, store cleanliness, or convenience of location. And supermarket executives are well aware of this belief.” (98)

“And with fewer laborers to go around, the help often doesn’t arrive at the right time-they’re too busy elsewhere. And that’s no shock, given the fragile, time-sensitive picking progression.” (106)

“…the larger the menu, the larger the waste, as there are more ingredients to manage.” (124)

“It’s ironic that a method for making use of a waste product sparked an entire industry of fresh-cut produce that no creates more waste.” (171)

oh, baby carrots.

“Food is constantly going bad in our refrigerators, which serve as cleaner, colder trash bins.” (186)

“Saginaw said that Zingerman’s has donated between $36,000 and $60,000 annually to the nonprofit (in addition to the donated food), but the group’s budget is now about $1.5 million.” (219)

getting rid of trays in cafeterias cuts down on waste (food waste, cleaning costs, etc.), like prostitution-we need to criminalize the demand on waste and not the supply, sell by/best by/freeze by/enjoy by/display until/best before=all kinds of confusion, scheduling lunch after recess makes more sense for children because it allows them to exercise and socialize first, produce does not just “decompose” and is not “natural” for the environment, people waste more when there’s a shortage in something because they buy as much as they can, and baby carrots backfiring-these are just a few things that i learned from this book. everyone should read it.

cd kept: fabrice koffy-{poesic}
podcast that continues to slay: the read


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