Reduce Food Waste, Reverse Climate Change

The Spare Food Shed
Written by:
Jeremy Kaye
Co-Founder,
The Spare Food Co.
Jeremy Kaye Headshot

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Science (thank you, Project Drawdown!) tells us that reducing food waste is the #1 way we can reverse the effects of climate change.  

How? Let’s look at how it contributes to climate change in the first place. Here’s what we know:

  • - About 30-40% of food produced in the United States gets wasted—some never leaves the field it was grown in, some rots in an inefficient distribution chain, and too much just gets mindlessly thrown away.

  • - Much of this wasted food eventually reaches landfills where it decomposes much more slowly than if it was composted, and releases methane in the process. Methane is a greenhouse gas 28-times more potent than carbon dioxide with 80-times the warming power.

  • - According to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, food waste was responsible for 8% to 10% of the global warming-causing gasses emitted from 2010 to 2016.

These stark and simple truths led us to our approach: find more ways to use more of what’s already grown and produced. 

That’s where our imaginations run wild:

  • We’ve only just scratched the surface of what we could do with crops and parts of plants getting left behind or overlooked!
  • If we were maximizing ingredients and wasting less food—be it surplus from farms, distribution centers, grocery stores or homes—less food reaches landfills and we create more conscious opportunities for consumers to affect change via more conscious food choices.

  • - This reduces the amount of methane entering the atmosphere while we optimize more of the inputs used to grow our food, feed more nutritious food to more people, and work to build healthier communities.

There is much work to do here! This is why we launched The Spare Food Co. and why we started with whey and Spare Tonic.

The nutritional benefits of whey have been known across cultures and culinary traditions for millenia. When we learned that about 2-3 cups of whey are created for every 1 cup of strained yogurt produced and that 70% of strained yogurt in the USA is made in New York State, we knew we needed to be a part of finding a food-solution to this problem of perceived value and disposable culture. 

So far we’ve rescued 10,000 lbs of whey per month, April through June. And almost 17,000 lbs of whey in both July and August. That’s billions of probiotics, electrolytes, B-vitamins and proteins hydrating humans in our community instead of getting dumped.

This is only a thimble-full in the sea of whey that is not used for food annually, but it is an important start and it shows what’s possible. It’s tangible proof that we can do this with the support of a community of like-minded souls—and that these shifts of perspective and choices do have an impact. 

We need to keep going. Thanks for joining us on this SPARE journey. We’re so happy you’re here. 

If you have ideas about ingredients you see getting overlooked, underutilized or just plain tossed out, we’d love to hear about them. Say hi

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