This episode is trash

How the food we waste heats up the planet, and how we can fix it.

On the Catalyst with Shayle Kann podcast this week:

In the U.S. alone, food waste is responsible for the equivalent emissions from 42 coal power plants. Globally, it accounts for 10% of greenhouse gases, more than heavy industries such as the manufacturing of cement and steel. 

Why? Wasted food means wasted energy. Throwing a piece of food in the trash is like tossing out the fertilizer and fuel used to make it, too. And we waste a lot of it. Nearly one-third of all food grown in the U.S. gets trashed. On top of that, when food decomposes in landfills through anaerobic digestion, it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. 

So how do we clean up food waste? 

In this episode, Shayle talks to Matt Rogers, founder and CEO of Mill. Matt founded Nest, the smart thermostat company, and has now turned his attention to food. 

Disclosure: Shayle’s venture capital firm Energy Impact Partners is an investor in Mill. 

Matt and Shayle cover topics including:

  • Where food waste occurs along the value chain (hint: The biggest source of waste is us, when we toss food we’ve already purchased).

  • The causes of emissions, from energy inputs to anaerobic digestion in landfills.

  • The current solutions to food waste, such as composting, green-bin programs, supply-chain management software and shelf-life extension.

  • The challenges with landfills, including trucking waste and landfill capacity.

  • Mill’s new consumer-focused food waste technology, which includes shipping dehydrated food scraps in the mail.

  • How much consumers care about food waste and carbon emissions.

Recommended resources:

  • ReFED: Drawdown update affirms reducing food waste as a leading solution to climate change

  • ReFED: Roadmap to 2030: Reducing U.S. food waste by 50%

  • Canary: Eating the Earth column archives

  • Climavores: Today’s food crisis is a postcard from our warming future

  • EPA: From farm to kitchen: The environmental impacts of U.S. food waste

Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Transcript available here.

Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more.