Food Chain Radio Asks, What Should We Do With Our Leftovers?

By Daniel Kandy

A recent program on Food Chain Radio focused on the efforts of Robert Colmes of RC Farms in Las Vegas, Nevada, to utilize the massive amount of waste that the city generates. Colmes’ takes food scraps from the casinos and hotels of Las Vegas, cooks them to kill pathogens, and feeds them to the 3,000 hogs he raises. This example of waste reduction and recycling  has saved money not only for Colmes, but the city of Las Vegas and  farmers who use the manure Colme’s hogs produce for fertilizer. It also reduces the amount of food finding its way into landfills.

Hogs feeding on leftover food scraps (Photo credit: Jenny Litchfield)

Colmes believes that the tremendous amount of food waste is created because Americans prefer to “take the easier path”, even if it means more expensive food, both ecologically and economically. Every year the average American wastes almost 475 pounds (215 kilograms) of food. And Colme’s belief in recycling food scraps is one that appears to be taking off elsewhere. The city of Berkley, California, for example, has embarked on a food waste collection program of its own. Restaurants, produce markets, florists, bakeries and food manufacturers can participate in the city’s pilot food waste recycling program, in which organic scraps and waxed cardboard are made into compost, which is then offered free to the public.

For more about innovations in preventing food waste, see our recent op-ed in USA Today and contributing State of the World 2011 author, Tristram Stuart’s website, WASTE.

To read more about food waste and ways it can be prevented, see: Innovation of the Week: Reducing Food Waste, Reducing Food Waste in the Event of An Erupting Volcano and Other Farming Hazards, and Breaking It Down: Corn Plastic and Backyard Compost

Daniel Kandy is a research intern with Nourishing the Planet

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