Food Loss and Waste: A Quick Guide to Understanding the FLW Standard

Read the full post at Spoiler Alert.

Banana peels. Oversized apples. Mislabeled packaged goods.

In different circles, these products might be considered ‘food waste’, yet in others, they might represent a meal or an input for value-added processing. Awareness of the food waste problem has increased tremendously, catalyzing action from the private, public, and civil sectors to develop solutions to an issue that costs the U.S. $218 billion every year. But even among the experts and practitioners leading the charge, you may find mixed definitions of what constitutes ‘food waste’.

That is why in 2013, a multi-stakeholder partnership named the Food Loss & Waste Protocol set out to develop an internationally-recognized standard that outlines requirements and guidance for measuring and reporting on the weight of food and/or associated inedible parts that are removed from the supply chain, otherwise known as ‘food loss and waste’ (FLW).

What this group produced and launched in 2016 is known as the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard (FLW Standard). Led by the World Resources Institute (WRI), the partnership includes representatives from the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with review and feedback provided by more than 200 additional stakeholders from business, government, civil society, and academia.

Study: Price and appearance are top barriers to produce purchases

Read the full story in Food Dive.

In a recent survey, more than half of produce buyers said that price remained a top barrier to purchasing fruits and vegetables, according to a release from survey leads Category Partners and Beacon Research Solutions. The survey, taken by 4,000 shoppers in June, also found “poor appearance/quality/color” and “spoiling/inability to eat it all” to be barriers, as well.

The firms found that most produce shoppers make their purchasing decisions in-store, and that traditional marketing materials like ad circulars, cookbooks and recipe cards were more effective at driving category sales than nontraditional channels like social media.

Thirty-one percent of consumers surveyed said values like locally grown, natural, organic and non-GMO weren’t top of mind for them. Flavor, the survey revealed, is almost as important as health in driving purchase.

Study: Food scrap recycling can work in cities of any size, though PAYT helps

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

The financial and logistical challenges of starting a food scrap diversion program can seem daunting for smaller cities. A newly published study from MIT shows that no one characteristic is a prerequisite for taking the leap.

The study, published in the October 2017 edition of the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling, was written by a team of three researchers from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Department of Materials Science and Engineering. They set out to understand where food scrap diversion programs were happening in mid-size and large cities. Their results were based on 115 responses from cities with between 100,000 and 1 million people — about 28% of the U.S. population.

Here’s How We Solve Our Food Waste Problem

Read the full story in Forbes.

Food waste is getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. No matter how you slice it, the statistics are downright alarming. The world produces 17% more food than it did 30 years ago, yet almost half of it never reaches our bellies.

In a way, it’s a testament to the incredible progress we’ve achieved as a species by producing an overabundance of food to ensure survival. And while we continue to make progress through technology to increase efficiencies in our food system, we’re moving in an unsustainable direction, with more and more food being produced while nearly a billion people still don’t have enough to eat.

Chemical companies have already released 1 million pounds of extra air pollutants, thanks to Harvey

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Oil refineries and chemical plants across the Texas Gulf Coast released more than 1 million pounds of dangerous air pollutants in the week after Harvey struck, according to public regulatory filings aggregated by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Are Hazardous Vapors Seeping Into Your Basement?

Read the full story in Ensia.

The movement of underground contaminants into buildings is attracting increased scrutiny from health experts, advocates and agencies.

Coastal Cities Are Increasingly Vulnerable, and So Is the Economy that Relies on Them

Read the full story in the Harvard Business Review.

There was a time a decade or two ago when society could have made a choice to write off our massive investment in a fossil fuel-based economy and begin a policy driven shift towards a cleaner renewable infrastructure that could have forestalled the worst effects of climate change. But the challenges of collective action, a lack of political courage, and the power of incumbent pecuniary interests to capture the levers of power meant we did not. The bill is now coming due.