Food Shift founder and director Dana Frasz recently spoke at the Hotel Council of San Francisco’s Zero Waste Banquets and Catering Seminar, which was hosted by Recology.
Dana encouraged the hotel, restaurant, and food industry to deepen their efforts to reduce waste and hunger. The Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, for example, protects donors from liability since the food is donated in good faith. Dana emphasized the importance of getting the word out about the Act and encouraging stakeholders in the food industry to donate excess food. Dana also spoke about Lean Path, an online system that can help track and monitor waste, and Cropmobster, an online system which connects communities in-need with local farmers, vendors, and distributors with excess food to be donated or sold at a discounted price.
Angela Monier, Senior Vice President at US Foods Distribution Center in Livermore, spoke about her branch’s efforts to reduce food waste by protecting distribution cases from damage during transportation and donating or selling damaged cases at a discount. They have reduced their waste by 40% since implementing these waste reduction strategies, and have already donated 300 pallets of food to the Sacramento and Alameda County food banks this year.
Philippe Striffeler, the Food and Beverage Director and Executive Chef at Hotel Nikko, spoke about the hotel’s efforts to cut down on waste, such as storing foods at the proper temperature, rotating food to use the oldest ingredients first, and purchasing fresh ingredients daily rather than attempting to store them for long periods of time. The Hotel Nikko also has a waste log, which catalogs everything that is thrown out! Philippe mentioned that this was particularly helpful and the list has shortened dramatically since this tracking started. He also mentioned crafting creative recipes to use overripe produce to make sauces and jams, or pickling to extend the life of some produce.
Barry Stenger, the Executive Director at St. Anthony’s gave a moving speech about the importance of combating food insecurity in San Francisco, where up to 74 million meals are lacking each year. Given the number of people facing food insecurity in the Bay Area one of the best ways to prevent food waste is to donate excess food.
Steven Chiv from Commercial Zero Waste Association discussed what to do with food waste that could not be donated or consumed. He described some new technologies in waste management, including household sink grinders, and large scale digesters that break down waste and divert it from landfills.
Thanks to everyone who organized this event, we really enjoyed hearing about all the ways that people are working towards zero waste! Everyone’s efforts to reduce waste and re-purpose food served as a great reminder and I’m excited to work on reducing my own personal food waste as well!