Could a trash-eating compost bin solve our organic waste problem?

Read the full story from Fast Company.

Bob Hendrikx, an architect and biodesigner based in the Netherlands, has developed a concept for a “living bin” inspired by sea anemones. Though they look like colorful flowers, some species of anemones are omnivorous marine animals that feed on plants and other small animals like fish, crab, and plankton. According to Hendrikx, our trash cans could work in a similar way.

Researchers extend the shelf life of pasta with novel process

Read the full story at Food Manufacture.

Italian researchers have discovered a new recipe for extending shelf life of fresh pasta by 30 days.

How to reduce food waste at Thanksgiving dinner

Read the full story from the Washington Post.

Food waste is a year-round concern. Still, the large Thanksgiving meal presents a particular challenge when it comes to preventing it. You’re buying many more ingredients. You’re making large-scale recipes, with lots of potential leftovers. You may just be even more preoccupied with everything else going on around you.

But there are ways to reduce food waste and therefore your environmental impact, even around the holidays. Here are a few tips geared toward Thanksgiving dinner.

Easing pain at the pump with discarded food

Read the full story from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

With gas prices soaring and food costs pinching family budgets, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at WPI is looking at ways to use food waste to make a renewable and more affordable fuel replacement for oil-based diesel. The work, led by Chemical Engineering Professor Michael Timko, is detailed in a new paper in the journal iScience.

Loryma creates food spray adhesive to reduce food waste

Read the full story at Food Ingredients First.

Loryma launches Lory Starch Opal, a spray-on adhesive for seeds and other decorative food seasonings. The spray is made from pregelatinized wheat starch with a focus on solubility to ease its ability to be sprayed on.

The spray design makes for a hygienic application, as the typical methods of using brushes or immersion baths do not contact the dough. The product can be sprayed onto baked goods for boutique creators or used at high volumes for industrial production.

Inside the global effort to keep perfectly good food out of the dump

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Around the world, lawmakers and entrepreneurs are taking steps to tackle two of humanity’s most pressing problems: hunger and climate change.

‘Smashing Pumpkins’: Not the band, but a climate-friendly way to get rid of jack-o-lanterns

Read the full story from WBEZ.

This Halloween season has come to an end. The trick-or-treaters had their fun and jack-o-lanterns across Chicagoland are getting cleared from stoops.

While throwing these past perfect pumpkins into the trash might seem like a good option, it’s not the best for our planet.

When tossed, pumpkins end up in landfills as food waste. Buried under heaps of trash, they rot and release methane — one of the most potent greenhouse gasses. Food waste makes up 37% of Cook County’s landfill material, according to the University of Illinois Extension.

But there is a very cathartic and environmentally friendly way to dispose of Halloween gourds: a pumpkin smash!

These events are exactly what they sound like — a chance for people to smash their beloved jack-o-lanterns into a compostable mess using a baseball bat or other creative methods. Once smashed, the chunks are transferred to composting sites across Illinois. Composting reduces methane creation and transforms the pumpkins into useful organic material – like nutrients for soil or mulch.

Understanding complex fluid dynamics could help advance sustainability of food systems

Read the full story from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

A University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientist has been awarded two USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grants to pursue research designed to benefit the environment and human health in different ways.

In one project, funded with a three-year grant totaling $630,000, assistant professor Jiakai Lu aims to reduce the use of conventional agricultural pesticides by developing an eco-friendly drift reduction agent using essential oils derived from food waste, such as orange peel and culinary herbs. 

In the other project, Lu was awarded a two-year, $270,000 seed grant to work on developing a potentially scalable processing technology aimed for plant-based seafood that better mimics the texture of fish meat, a significant challenge in the effort to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution to overfishing and related pollution.

‘Grocery sharing’ app Recelery lets users resell food items to help minimize waste

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

It is typical for consumers to purchase more food items than they need and then throw them away because they either forgot about them or the food expired. It is estimated that 1.3 billion tons of food items are wasted yearly, an approximate $1 trillion loss.

Recelery, a pantry tracker app and online marketplace, aims to reduce food waste with an array of features. Users can log their recent food purchases, manage grocery lists and see “virtual pantries” from other users in their area, as well as sell unused grocery items to their neighbors. Users can also invite friends and family to share what food is in their virtual pantry.

The startup hopes its app helps consumers keep track of when food in their kitchen/pantry expires and discover what food they can buy from neighbors in between grocery trips. Plus, during high inflation, the marketplace tool will potentially give everyday consumers a way to earn money on recently purchased food that would otherwise be uneaten and in the trash.

Keep it or toss it? ‘Best Before’ labels cause confusion

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

As awareness grows around the world about the problem of food waste, one culprit in particular is drawing scrutiny: “best before” labels.

Manufacturers have used the labels for decades to estimate peak freshness. Unlike “use by” labels, which are found on perishable foods like meat and dairy, “best before” labels have nothing to do with safety and may encourage consumers to throw away food that’s perfectly fine to eat.