A new certification program launched by the Food Recovery Network encourages people to think about where leftover goes.
By: Amanda Froelich,
Many are beginning to concern their thoughts with where their food comes from, how it was grown, and by whom, but even less are aware of where it goes once they have filled their plate.
Leftovers at home may be eaten, composted, or left in the back of the fridge, but in restaurants, what is not sold disappears into the trash and is quickly out of mind.
This is a huge problem. Geared towards pleasing consumers and maintaining turnover, a whopping 40% of food in the United States is wasted per year. The 72 billion pounds of food thrown into landfills annually costs the US $165 billion and produces methane as it decomposes.
With 1 in 6 families not knowing where their next meal is coming from, this says little for man’s ingenuity and concern for others without.
To remedy this issue, The Food Recovery Network, founded by Ben Simon at the University of Maryland in 2011, has come up with a brilliant plan to link the two discrepancies and make them mutually beneficial. In April 2014, a new certification program called ‘Food Recovery Certified’ was launched.
Restaurants and businesses can qualify for the certification if they donate surplus food to local non-profits and charities at least once a month. In return, they receive a bright green sticker for the front window where customers can see that the business is committed to food recovery.
This idea benefits all players involved: business owners increase the value of their brand, customers support a good cause, hungry members of the community are given satisfying meals, and the planet benefits from waste re-direction.
With the world’s population estimated to hit 9 billion by 2050, there is no choice but to come up with alternative methods of producing and distributing food. And starting with ‘Food Recovery Certified’ restaurants is a great first step.
Because the project is fairly new, there is not yet a long list of certified restaurants, but Ben Simons has high hopes that it will expand. On the website, additional information regarding consulting services and potential tax deductions can be found. Applications forms for certification are also available.
You can be a part of conscious, positive change by supporting restaurants that are ‘Food Recovery Certified’. As a business owner, you also have the opportunity to influence the public and take active steps to prevent and reduce food waste.
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