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Our waste represents an opportunity.

I don't think our being less wasteful will benefit the hungry abroad or even those next door. If you can't afford to eat, you need to a job.

Photo of Lavinia Frank
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As a group, Americans take much for granted.  We are far too insulated and protected from the real horrors suffered in other parts of the world.  Even with the amount of social media and live imagery televised 24/7, we are so inundated with information and stimuli that nothing really takes hold and leaves a lasting impression.  Changing habits around food waste that would actually impact global hunger would take decades, if not an entire generation of education.

I think a better approach would be to take advantage of the situation as it is--recognize that food waste is also a resource that can be recaptured and turned into a usable resource like compost, animal feed or an energy source.

Additionally, in a city like San Francisco, at any time of day, one can find any number of indigent people digging through garbage cans searching for aluminum cans or salvageable meals.  I imagine many these people might be interested in turning this activity into regular employment for solid wages that allow them to actually live and afford dignified livelihoods.  

The garbage in the public domain, the garbage from our homes, the garbage from our corporate and local businesses could be sorted with the help of this new work force.  The food waste recaptured and directed to appropriate processing plants for repurposing.  

I'd also like to see the waste collectors included in the  processing activities further down the supply chain for further workforce development...but that's another issue.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Focus on opportunities in a "problem." If there are economic incentives, trust that, humans being humans, will be moved by them. Broaden your ideas of potential partners. See how your solutions might solve someone else's problems as well and then gauge their interest in working together.

Tell us about your work experience:

Previously: national political campaign strategist. Currently: strategy consulting for start-ups. Projects include People Ops, global teams; retail textiles and ed-tech startups.

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Photo of Swapna Bellare

This is a great employment opportunity, and also a streamlined way to manage waste. In the next phase, you can think about the different steps and how to visualize in form of a flow chart. good going!

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