Google to Cut Food Waste at Facilities through Sourcing Changes, Kitchen Improvements

(Credit: Google)

by | Mar 9, 2022

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(Credit: Google)

Search engine giant Google announced plans to reduce food waste at its facilities earlier this week spanning the entire lifecycle of food served at Google, from where it’s produced to how it’s consumed and what is done with leftovers.

Google committed to cutting food waste in half for each Googler and sending zero food waste to the landfill by 2025. To do so, it aims to prevent waste during food sourcing and procurement, improve its kitchens and cafes, and make sure excess food is repurposed or disposed of properly.

Google’s food team serves hundreds of thousands of meals to employees in 56 different countries. On the front end, it works with manufacturers, processors, suppliers and distributors to source sustainably, for instance by purchasing imperfect produce “unfit” for grocery stores and selecting food products from upcycled ingredients — like broth made from vegetable trimmings from a processing plant. In the kitchen, Google employs technologies that allow food waste tracking that informs chefs on how to better prepare, cook, and serve. These strategies have helped divert 10 million pounds of food waste since 2014 — the equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the road for a year.

Doubling down on food sustainability, Google plans to leverage innovation and technology to further reduce waste. One of its ideas is to utilize produce that would otherwise be trashed for creative menu options, for example slaw made from peeled and shredded broccoli stems. Google will also strengthen its food donations to make sure unconsumed food fills stomachs instead of landfills.

With regard to food left on the plate, Google is working to improve its waste separation systems to make sure composting works everywhere. To this end, it is piloting technology that can process organic waste onsite and smart waste collection containers that can better sort trash.

Google’s food sustainability vision extends beyond its own operations. It is already working with agricultural and food service partners to improve supply chain transparency, traceability, and data tracking to better manage and distribute excess food.

Last September, Google launched a “moonshot” initiative of  “24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030.” Google already achieved carbon neutrality in 2017 by offsetting its fossil fuel–generated electricity consumption with renewable energy purchases. The company is now going a step further by attempting to move beyond carbon offsets and operate on a truly carbon-free basis.

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