There seems to be a disconnect in the restaurant industry between respecting food and realizing its contribution to the country’s serious food waste issues, reports NPR. Not long ago, reports emerged showing that we waste 40% of the country’s food supply.
According to Environmental Protection Agency analyst Jean Schwab, food waste is the most common source of trash filling up incinerators and landfills. Food rot produces the greenhouse gas methane, which is 20x more potent than carbon dioxide. And the restaurant industry regularly contributes about 15 percent of the food turning up in landfills.
Priorities in the industry are partly to blame, since chefs tend to focus on the quality of the dishes they put forth, not the waste that remained. They are, therefore, accustomed to the waste getting thrown out. Jonathan Bloom says diners should take just as much responsibility for the food that gets thrown out as they do for what they enjoy at the table.
A possible solution is to take away trash cans, says the National Restaurant Association’s environmental advisor Chris Moyer, as it makes people think twice about the food they are about to throw away.
Still, the issue is more deep-seeded, as “getting the whole industry to take on food waste is going to take a lot of training and education.” In an effort to provide such resources, Moyer currently runs the ConServe program for the association.