Hello, Ms. Kate here and welcome to the blog series, “Documentaries for Teens”. In this series, I will review documentaries (series or stand alone) for you to view yourself!

In the first installment, I will be discussing the first episode of the Wasted series, a chronicle for the foodies and other food enthusiasts. It opens to the late celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain, explaining his views on waste, the project, and environmental ideologies that without humans, the Earth would be okay. He finishes the talking head by stating, “as a culinary student, as a young cook, I grew up in an old school system that abhors waste as a fundamental principle. Meaning the whole enterprise was based on the idea of using everything. (…) That principle was pounded deep into my tissue; use everything, waste nothing.” (00:1:08 – 00:1:12).  

This documentary is highly entertaining with the interviews they conduct (activists, chefs, engineers). Together, they break down the hard questions for us, like: Can we change this? What can we do? Yogurt can be turned into electricity?  My jaw dropped at the fact that the annual cost of food waste is a trillion dollars (just for reference, a trillion is a million millions or 1,000,000,000,000). Or that food production is the leading cause of deforestation, water extraction, and biodiversity loss. We learn this in the very beginning of the documentary! 

Thankfully, the specialists also explain processes taking shape to help. But how do we fix this? The Environmental Protection Agency has created a pyramid in the hopes to upcycle food waste and keep it out of landfills, (which make 90% of dumps). 

How does this pyramid work? The first priority is ensuring that the food makes it to humans for consumption. Another tier for the pyramid is to use the left-over food for livestock, so it can return to the “food” so to say. If the waste isn’t suitable for the creatures to consume, then it will turn into energy through the process of anaerobic digestion. If they cannot be used to generate energy, they can be used to make nutrient rich soil (compost).

I greatly enjoyed this documentary. My favorite segments were the ones about Samuel J Green, a Kindergarten through 8th grade school that has one of the top compost educations, and the one about how the food industry is trying to help reduce fish waste using marketing tactics. 

Viewers who watch this documentary will take away so much. Ever since I watched this documentary, I have been more mindful of the waste I accumulate when making my meals. For example, I was making Zoopa Tuscana for dinner, and I fed the stalks of the kale and eyes of the potato to the rabbits that reside in my yard. What will you do to help reduce food waste? 

Below is the link for the documentary and a link to learn about composting:

Want to learn more about composting? Join us for a workshop where you will learn about different composting techniques, how to reduce your weekly trash, carbon footprint, & create better soil for your yard & garden. Participants will receive a FREE Geobin composting system.