Food waste is the world’s dumbest problem

Eat your peas! It’s the easiest way to fight climate change.

This is the fourth episode of Climate Lab, a six-part series produced by the University of California in partnership with Vox. Hosted by Emmy-nominated conservation scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan, the videos explore the surprising elements of our lives that contribute to climate change and the groundbreaking work being done to fight back. Featuring conversations with experts, scientists, thought leaders and activists, the series takes what can seem like an overwhelming problem and breaks it down into manageable parts: from clean energy to food waste, religion to smartphones. Sanjayan is an alum of UC Santa Cruz and a Visiting Researcher at UCLA. Check back next Wednesday for the next episode. Visit for more.

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10 thoughts on “Food waste is the world’s dumbest problem

  1. It’s disgusting the amount that gets wasted at the grocery store i work at… and it’s not just the business, customers will leave a perfectly good bag of milk, or package of meat, or carton of eggs, etc. on a random non-refrigerated shelf or underneath the cash register where it goes unnoticed until we clean up at the end of the night and have to throw it away because by that time it”s been out too long and may be contaminated.

  2. I have seen some students who spent $8 on food just to eat like 1/6 to 1/8 of a portion and dump the rest

  3. Amazing how many supermarkets are now locking up their trash bins to stop dumpster divers from helping themselves to wasted food. When food now goes out of date in my locals, they knock off a few pence (certainly not enough to get rid of it), and then when no one’s tempted – it’s binned.
    It’s the public ‘buying’ good, full-price food and donating it into hardship bins that gets to the people that need it. It’s stupid, the supermarkets are throwing away more than enough to keep those same people well fed.

    I invested in smaller plates and bowls a few years ago, and there does seem to be some satisfaction gained in filling a small plate as opposed to leaving gaps on a larger one.
    One of the places they really should introduce a system of offering meals on smaller plates (at a sensibly reduced cost and not just a few token pennies) is in these supermarket cafes. The wastage that goes on in one of my locals is just criminal! Kids meals are way too big for a start. They leave piles of food to go to waste – and that’s just lovely when you’re trying to eat your own meal in the middle of uncleared tables, food going cold, and a fly or two have started crawling over it.
    It’s about time it was made more well-known just how much a child really needs to eat – after all, I remember my mother standing over us kids and forcing us to clear plates before we left the table. I used to be full to the point of feeling sick. There really should be a bit more education on just how much is plenty.

  4. Companies are the problem. They throw away food which have some tiny flaw with package etc…

  5. Anyone who has the space and even the tiniest bit of free time should keep a garden. Specifically one that you grow food in. One blueberry Bush can grow to around 6 ft tall, and produces s o m a n y b l u e b e r r i e s, this reducing the need to buy them at a store. Plus, you’d then have the opportunity to compost, preventing the need to throw food out. This doesn’t fix everything, and emissions are still produced from the decomposition (I believe if you keep your composting site near some trees, it may reduce this, though I’m not sure), but it can definitely help if you’re unable to donate, or if you feel bad for throwing out rotten food/food scraps.

    Tl,dr: Gardening and composting is, if you have the space/time, an okay alternative to donating extra food, and is definitely better than throwing out rotten food.

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