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Reducing food waste the innovative way

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Reducing food waste the innovative way

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I read the other week about a restaurant that was looking to tackle the issue of food waste by serving meals made with ingredients that were past their used by date.  The story attracted a mix of opinions, ranging from those in support of reducing food waste whilst still serving what are ostensibly healthy meals, all the way to those worried about the health risks.  Projects such as this are growing in popularity, with Bloomfield Farm also attempting to reduce food waste by offering up food via social media when it was approaching its used by date.

Another interesting restaurant is also tackling food waste, albeit from a different angle.  The BIOMAT restaurant in Austria wants to encourage composting, so as part of Vienna Design Week offered diners a free meal at the restaurant if they donated their compostable waste.

The project was a collaboration between the renewable resource company BIOMAT and the Vera Wiedermann Design Studio.  The process was a straightforward one.  Diners would bring along their compostable goods.  They’d be weighed and assigned an energy value, with a voucher then given to the donor for the equivalent value that they could use in the restaurant, either for part of or for an entire meal.  The compostable donations were then sent to a local urban farm where they were broken down into biogas for use in cooking.

Sadly the BIOMAT concept was only in operation for the week of the festival, but it highlighted the way interesting approaches can be taken towards social problems.  New York based Hello Compost is a similar scheme, with their food waste donations traded in for fresh food that is then donated to low income families in the area.

These kind of projects serve as exemplary examples of how a little creative thinking can turn traditional problems into sustainable solutions.  Although only in operation for the duration of the week-long festival, the BIOMAT concept points towards a sustainable cycle of reuse that other restaurants could emulate, turning their own food waste into a resource to power their kitchens. Could this idea be turned into a more long-term solution?

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