Getting Trashed: Food Waste In The U.S.

Food waste has become a worldwide issue, especially within the American restaurant industry. It’s estimated that 571,000 tons of food waste is generated every year by the U.S. Restaurant industry. A staggering 84.3% of unused food is disposed of in restaurants and 14.3% is recycled, while only 1.4% is donated. It’s obvious that this amount of waste negatively impacts our environment and works against food security among many other problems. So what do we do? Organizations are working with chefs and restaurants across the country to work on reducing this waste. Here are just a few chefs we found that are leading the fight against food waste. 

Overall food waste stats in US,   Eat Drink Better

Overall food waste stats in US, Eat Drink Better


April Bloomfield, owner of four restaurants in New York and San Francisco, is known for her ‘nose-to-tail’ philosophy. Her 2012 cookbook A Girl and Her Pig exemplifies this philosophy, including chapter titles like ‘The Not-So-Nasty Bits.’ She also openly teaches home cooks how to use every part of the animal, oftentimes the pig. Bloomfield’s ideology has become seen as a form of respect to the animal - using all possible pieces to magnify taste, as well as reduce waste. 

April Bloomfield's cookbook,   Eater .

April Bloomfield's cookbook, Eater.


Steven Satterfield of Miller Union has designed his whole restaurant--from the kitchen layout to cook training--to fight against food waste. His cookbook Root to Leaf teaches home cooks how to use the whole vegetable--from the root to the leaf. He was even featured in the TV series Scraps, that follows chefs all over the country who are paving the way in food re-use. Satterfield has become known for his simple tips for both fellow chefs and home cooks, like serving smaller portions and repurposing scraps to be served. 

Steven Satterfield featured in the TV series  Scraps ,   Atlanta Magazine

Steven Satterfield featured in the TV series ScrapsAtlanta Magazine


Dan Barber has become known as the face of the food waste movement. Most notably his 2015 pop-up restaurant WastED transformed Blue Hill NYC to be entirely devoted to the themes of food waste and reuse. Barber worked with Formless Finder to convert the interior of the restaurant, using materials like ‘mycelium,’ an all-natural and biodegradable plastic substitute, as a tabletop replacement. The menu “took root in the overlooked byproducts of our food system,” and invited guest chefs like Dominique Ansel, Mario Batali, April Bloomfield, and Daniel Humm. By the end of WasteED’s three-week run, 600 lbs ugly vegetables, 150 lbs kale ribs, 30 gallons beef tallow, 475 lbs skate cartilage, 350 lbs vegetable pulp, and 900 lbs waste-fed pigs were used. 

Dan Barber cooking for the WastED pop-up,   The New Yorker

Dan Barber cooking for the WastED pop-up, The New Yorker