Screening of “Wasted! A Story of Food Waste” proposes solutions to food waste

Megan Menchaca

Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food are thrown away, according to a 2011 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

The documentary “Wasted! A Story of Food Waste” screened Wednesday evening in the Texas Union, emphasizing the problem of wasted food around the world and offering sustainable solutions to the issue.

“This movie highlights the fact that we don’t have a hunger issue,” said Valerie Vines, sustainability policy director for Student Government. ”We have a food distribution issue, and this movie gives solutions on how to fix that.”

The film showcases five chefs who transform food scraps into elaborate dishes to feed more people and create a more sustainable food system. It also features several worldwide food waste reduction stories, including a disposal program in South Korea, waste-fed pigs in Japan and a garden education curriculum in New Orleans.

“I hope this film inspires people to take action on an individual level, like individual composting in apartments, but also on a more widespread scale by inciting some activism and change the food waste production process,” sustainability studies junior Vines said. “We all eat food so we all should care about the waste.”

The film was shown by Campus Events + Entertainment, University Housing and Dining, UT Athletics Sustainability and the Office of Sustainability.

Following the screening, panelists answered questions about how to reduce food waste on campus. The panelists included Robert Mayberry, University Housing and Dining food service unit manager, Neil Kaufman, University Housing and Dining sustainability coordinator and members from Austin-based organizations such as Keep Austin Fed and Central Texas Food Bank.

Kaufman said the single biggest thing students can do on campus to reduce food waste is sorting their waste into the proper bins.

“Seventeen thousand pounds of food goes uneaten at our all-you-can-eat locations on campus,” Kaufman said. “Students learning about what should go where, or seeing people missorting their waste and going up to them and telling them where their food needs to go, would drastically reduce this number.”

Mayberry said solving the issue of food waste is simply a matter of changing people’s minds and actions, one person at a time.

“There are multiple avenues for students to have a large impact on food waste, but the number one is the choices that you make everyday,” Mayberry said. “Your actions make a difference.”