GAIA Zero Waste MasterPlan - Page 61



Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) 61
PREVENT FOOD WASTE AT THE SOURCE
There are multiple ways for communities to
reduce food waste at the source:


Cities can help inform operational changes
to reduce waste by providing restaurants,
school cafeterias, and other food service
establishments with the technical
assistance to identify wasteful practices
and improve inventory management.

Businesses can be encouraged to
participate in voluntary food waste
reduction programs with the promise
of cost savings: one report found that
restaurants saved $7 in operating costs for
every $1 invested in programs to reduce
food waste.[4] It identified five key actions
restaurants can take to successfully reduce
food waste:
1.
Rethink inventory and purchasing
practices.
Connecting growers and manufacturers to
secondary resellers such as Daily Table (see
the case study below) that sell unwanted
produce and processed food at discounted
prices avoids waste and supports food
security.
2. Create a “food waste inventory” to
measure how much and where food is
wasted to prioritize interventions and
monitor progress.

Encouraging retailers, foodservice
providers, and consumers to purchase “ugly”
produce prevents edible produce from
being wasted because of irregularities in
size, shape, or color.
4. Reduce overproduction: Certain
production techniques (such as
batch cooking and buffets) can be
more wasteful than cook-to-order
preparation.

Communities can also request that
institutions eliminate trays in all-you-caneat dining establishments: the University of
Austin saw a 48% decrease in students’ food
waste less than two years after removing
trays from dining halls, an initiative paired
with food waste prevention education for
both students and cafeteria workers.[3]
5. Repurpose excess food: forecasting
customer demand is not a perfect
science. Having a Plan B for how to
safely repurpose ingredients can allow
a restaurant to generate revenue from
potential waste.

City agencies can also support community
education programs to help save money and
reduce wasted food, such as by distributing
toolkits for households and businesses to
calculate the costs of their food waste.
3 Jones, M., Meyer, S., Fighting Food Waste
at UT Austin. The University of Texas at Austin.
https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/sites/
production/files/2016-01/documents/4_fighting_food_
waste_at_ut_austin.pdf
3. Engage staff.
STANDARDIZING AND CLARIFYING FOOD
DATE LABELING
Misinterpretation of date labels on food is a
leading contributor to food waste. Markers such
as “use by” and “best before” do not serve as a
4 Champions 12.3. (2019). The Business Case for
Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Restaurants. https://
furtherwithfood.org/resources/business-case-reducingfood-loss-waste-restaurants

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