With 40 percent of the food
in the U.S. wasted, it’s an important thing to think about daily. It’s what fills up most of our landfills.
Every First Friday, we have a staff meeting with breakfast and a speaker to address a different topic. For August, we invited Thomas McQuillan of Baldor Specialty Foods, Inc. to speak to us about SparCs (scraps spelled backwards), his initiative to increase sustainability at Baldor. The goal is overall waste reduction and energy efficiency for the large grocery supplier.
Baldor: Fighting Food Waste
Thomas started with a fascinating video showing the journey of strawberries from farm to refrigerator. Food waste means a waste of water, fuel, countless hours of labor, and, of course, money.
Baldor is 80 percent produce and 20 percent specialty food distribution. A subsidiary called Baldor Fresh Cuts offers 60 different pre-cut fruits and veggies. Thomas was asked to figure out what to do with the scraps from these pre-cut goods.
The goal of SparCs is considering the whole use for a vegetable or fruit. The other part of SparCs is finding use for food that doesn’t meet criteria for sale.
Wasting food is a last resort.
Steps of Utilization and Composting
Thomas discussed Baldor's steps of utilization for making the most of food.
1. Source Reduction.
Reduce the volume of surplus food generated.
2. Feed Hungry People.
Donate extra food to food banks, soup kitchens and shelters.
3. Feed Animals.
Divert food scraps to animal feed.
4. Industrial Uses
Provide waste oils for rendering and fuel conversion and food scraps for digestion to recover energy.
Create a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
Last resort to disposal.
Since meeting with Thomas, GP
has implemented a new system for composting food waste in our office and
kitchen. We’ve also created a team to set up this system at our venues and will expand it to our events. It’s all about education and following up,
said Leticia Santana, GP Administrator of Venues.
She's from California, where composting is much more common in major cities. She is inspired by Thomas’ accomplishments with Baldor.
“I’m impressed with his ability to change Baldor despite the politics,” she said.