A Productive Month for Dumpster Diving

In addition to our own coverage, multiple channels have opened to the United States’ ungodly amount of food waste. From salvage fare actually served in a dumpster, to rescued food still lifes, to Walmart’s ugly produce initiatives, it’s been a productive month.

The Salvage Supperclub—a pop-up dining experience that occurs in a repurposed dumpster—recently earned attention for bringing food waste full circle. By serving gourmet meals from items that would otherwise be thrown away, the club draws attention to waste. The U.S. spends $218 billion a year on growing, processing, and disposing of food that is never eaten. As part of the supperclub, founder Josh Treuhaft also hopes that diners will take home some of the methods to cook food they would normally toss. The recipes use ingredients like over-ripe bananas or day-old bread that would likely draw grimaces from privileged guests in attendance. It’s awesome that a lesson on food waste comes at a “suggested donation” of $50 a pop.

Dumpster Diving: Saving Brown Bananas

Dumpster Diving: Saving Brown Bananas

Also hoping to make thrown-out food look good, environmental photographer Aliza Eliazarov began her “Waste Not” series. The photos—inspired by European still lifes—cast misshapen and discarded foods in highly-stylized settings. An ugly carrot and potato embrace on a golden platter in one piece. Eliazarov wants her photos to inspire others to waste less food and the see the beauty in brown bananas or garbage sorbet.

As an unlikely champion of food waste reduction, Walmart has also hopped on board the dumpster train. The “World’s Largest Retailer” introduced the sale of ugly produce that would normally be kept off their shelves. In the realm of expiry-date labeling, Walmart is also at the forefront. Sell-by and expiration dates are one of the largest issues preventing more responsible food use, as there is no national regulation and each state has its own requirements. Think about how many times you have thrown out some milk or yogurt because it is past its “date.” By asking some of its suppliers to adopt a standardized “best if used by” label,  the retailer will combat the 47 different types of labeling methods and potentially influence industry standards. Good job on this one, Walmart.

What can you do to fight the 133 billion pounds of food wasted in the U.S. each year? Maybe try out freeganism. Here’s a handy start-up guide. Let us know how it goes.

Image courtesy of Alan Levine/Flickr