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Recycling Lost Food

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In Israel, in 2016, 2.4 million tons of food was wasted. Half of it, 1.2 million tons, was fit for human consumption and able to be rescued. Leket Israel rescues fresh, quality food but there is a need to find a solution for the food waste that is inedible; the food that after sorting is found unfit for human consumption.

Those who volunteer at Leket Israel’s main logistics center in Ra’anana play a central role in the food rescue process by sorting, crating and packing fruits and vegetables that are then shipped in trucks to hundreds of non-profit organizations across the country. But what happens to the inedible produce? We asked Ido Gross, Director of the Logistics Center to shed light on the mystery.

“For a long time we searched for an appropriate solution for recycling food waste that both resulted in a minimal waste of resources and enabled us to continue progressing towards our central goal of rescuing food. The challenge was to find an organization that could process agricultural produce not fit for human consumption of different varieties, in unpredictable amounts, frequently and using minimal resources.”

After many meetings with potential partners, the correct one was found – The Good Energy Initiative.  The initiative develops unique and innovative projects for the implementation of sustainable technologies and environmental performance, while achieving social gains. The Good Energy Initiative conducted a study on the monthly average amount and type of lost, inedible food generated by Leket Israel as well as a survey of nearby farms. At the end of the investigations, a joint pilot program was started in partnership with farms in the Sharon region that was quickly found to be successful.

Leket Israel, in partnership with the Good Energy Initiative, has succeeded in creating a significant savings in the cost of transportation and landfilling, which was estimated at tens of thousands of shekels each month, and reducing the wear and tear on the equipment used for storage and transportation of agricultural produce. This process generates significant savings and enables more resources to be directed towards food rescue. At the same time, in addition to the obvious financial savings, the partnership includes regular training for employees and sharing of information with the organization’s volunteers, to increase recycling and environmental consciousness in the course of their activities.

Ido Gross concludes, “All parties gain from the partnership. The farmers benefit by getting food for their animals, Leket Israel benefits from the streamlining of operations and substantial reduction in cost with minimal effort and the Good Energy Initiative succeeds in the reduced production of polluting greenhouse gases. It’s undoubtedly a successful partnership!”

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