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Posts Tagged ‘food waste’

SpiroFlo discusses food waste and how media is made and received.

It’s the biggest political story of the week: No, not the Republican Presidential Debate, but that Jon Stewart left “The Daily Show.”

This means:

my-condolences-news-nowhere-jon-stewart-KlT

Maybe it’s that modern-day media consumption travels faster than the speed (and timing) of truth; maybe it’s that objectivity can’t compete ratings-wise with caricature news anchors giving their spin on today’s stories; maybe it’s that huge, complex issues are distilled down to skewed memes and soundbites, but if you can’t entertain people quickly with your coverage of a news story, you might as well not bother. The truth or important points? Eh, if they happen to be bundled right, sure, why not? They can tag along.

Want proof? This is currently the most shared clip from the GOP debate:

Now there’s a statement that’ll draw people to the voting booth to steer the U.S. political future onward…

Did that clip summarize the approach of the top Republican Presidential candidates? I mean, it reminded me that Donald Trump having diplomatic conversations is a risky endeavor, but that’s about it.

So why bring this up? I bring it up because food waste is becoming much muttered about topic. Not talked about—because talking is louder than muttering—and certainly not yelled about, but it’s an issue that’s garnering more discussion in environmentalist circles. Lately I discussed how a local farm uses expired food to reduce waste and enhance sustainability, but there’s nothing wrong with most of the food getting thrown away. Here are some basics:

  • 40% of all food grown in the U.S. never gets eaten. Part of this is due to strict aesthetic standards (because we all know our bellies feel worse digesting ugly food); part of this is due to it being cheaper for small businesses to throw it away (blame unreliable tax benefits), but that’s a lot of food, especially when you consider how many families—both globally and in the States—don’t have enough food. The term is now “food insecure families.”
  • Despite only purchasing the pertiest fruit and veggies, Americans throw away $165 billion in food every year. This has increased by 50% since 1974. You can look up the graphic showing football stadiums full of discarded food—because it’s always football stadiums (or, every four years, Olympic-sized swimming pools)—but it’s a lot of grub. Some of this has to do with arbitrary expiration dates. Outside of baby formula, there’s no government requirement to have them, and since these “best by” / “sell by” / “use by” / “just buy more by” dates are set by those who want to sell you more of their product, it’s not surprising that these dates pass by long before these food items go bad.
  • So we’ve got wasted food, wasted labor, increased methane emissions (from excess food in landfills), and the ugly reality of some throwing away mountains of excess food while others go hungry.

I’m not going to pretend I’ve never thrown away food—I’ve found things in the back of my fridge that should not be able to move like that—but these numbers are worthy of attention and improvement.

There’s just one problem: Facts are boring.

Okay, two problems: Facts are boring and if they don’t hurt enough people, things don’t change.

But then some people made a documentary called “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.” The facts you read above? Most of them came from it. But documentaries are boring. Sure, we’re willing to stare at screens all day, but just one documentary? One that goes longer than a standard TV segment? That’s asking a lot, but here’s the trailer:

But then “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver covered food waste. Same facts, more humor, a lot more YouTube views. Honestly, I’m surprised that they held the attention of many for over 17 minutes, but there’s a lot of hook in being alumni from “The Daily Show.” I‘m not even opposed to comedy shows like this—if anything, it shows that comedians hold more gravitas than your average news anchor—but it’s clear that how we distribute and receive media on important topics has a limited and skewed path. Anyway, enjoy the Donald Trump zinger. The joke came out last month and is more relevant today:

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for coal, biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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SpiroFlo discusses reusing food for animals, creating compost, and the joy of exploding watermelons.  

Why did nobody ever tell me that you can be sustainable by launching rotten watermelons from the back of a pickup truck?

I recently visited my in-laws close to Durango, Colorado (near the New Mexico border). As they have a small farm out back of their house, all those animals need feeding. This includes the dogs, goats, pigs, peacocks, chickens, horses, and the cats with extra toes, missing eyes, and country music star names. One of the ways to feed all these mouths is with the help of the local food bank.

If you didn’t know, the U.S. throws a lot of food away. Some of it has nothing wrong with it (more on that food waste another time), but as the donations the food bank receives are already a little past their “best” date, inevitably, some of it is too far gone for human consumption. But you know who doesn’t care? Pigs and chickens.

So this happens:

farmfood1

Basically, the food bank now leaves all this expired grub out for pick up. The in-laws grab all this food, load it in their back of their truck, then drive it home. After reversing the truck into the yard, you get to launch this food all over. We’re talking fruit, veggies, bread, etc. Lobbing watermelons across the yard is, of course, the best part. Even almost accidentally splooshed a peacock with one (I did pelt a pig while wildly machinegunning rolls—didn’t seem phased). Finally, you get the tractor and push all this food into a giant dirt mountain.

By doing so:

  • Food doesn’t go to waste
  • The chickens have something to do the next few days (wandering around the dirt mound, pecking for food), so they don’t peck each other; and
  • Any food left in the dirt mound becomes compost

Oh, and that giant food mess in the yard? It’s eaten up in less than 24 hours (save the mountain of relish I dumped out from a giant jar—apparently even chickens have standards about that).

Thus it’s official: Using expired food for farm animals is my recycling happy place.

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for coal, biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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