I've recently started reading Paul Hawken's Drawdown—a fascinating book that identifies 100 solutions to climate change and, crucially, ranks them according to the contribution they make toward getting us to "drawdown"—the moment we start to reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. From tropical forests to investing in wind power, and from solar farms to plant-rich diets, many of the top ranking solutions were hardly a surprise. I confess, however, I was a little taken aback to see "reducing food waste" ranked as the #3 solution—with only wind turbines (#2) and refrigeration (#1) ranking higher. In fact, says Hawken, reducing food waste by 50% by 2050 could save 26.2 gigaton in direct emissions, as well as a further 44.4 gigatons via reduced deforestation thanks to less pressure on farm lands.
I've always known food waste is a moral and environmental issue, but seeing it ranked as the third most important climate solution for the next three decades has me reevaluating my priorities. But what should I do about it? Drink more beer, apparently.
At least, that's one way to make a difference if you're drinking Toast Pale Ale—a beer that's literally made from surplus loaves and the heel end of loaves not used in commercial sandwich shops. (Toast actively encourages bakeries to first donate what they can to food pantries.) These collections help cut down on the staggering 44% of bread products that Toast says end up being wasted. Already, since it was founded last year, Toast has saved 7,000lbs of bread products from landfill in the US. But that's not all. They also put 100% of their profits back into Feedback Global, a worldwide food waste charity which has made a name for itself with its Feeding the 5,000 food waste "free lunches".
The good news is that Toast is now aiming to crowdfund an effort to bring its beer-made-from-bread approach to fighting food waste here to the US too. They've got a top Brooklyn craft brewery partner onboard. And they've already raised nearly $10,000, and are looking to reach $35,000 to make their dream a reality. Eventually, they say, they want to bring Toast brewing operations to every corner of the US.
Check it out. Pitch in. Fight waste. Make beer. Oh, and if you'd like to try making Toast yourself—the recipe is freely available for all to use too.