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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — With more than 40-percent of food waste ending up in our landfills every year, a new movement is underway in restaurants and businesses to recycle and repurpose all parts of the ingredients we cook with.

Executive Chef Gunnar Gislason is internationally known for his cooking style and curious nature and he has a knack for turning food that most would throw into the trash, into edible treasures.

One of his cooking staples is a powder made from the scraps of 20 different vegetables including celery tops, carrot skins and onion peels.

“Everything is about not throwing away something that you could possibly use,” he explained.

The vegetable powder is made at Baldor Specialty Foods in the Bronx. Repurposing and recycling every part of their produce is a challenge they took on in 2015 after realizing they were generating a 150 thousand pounds of vegetable scraps every week.

“Changing the culture around the way we treat food has to be part of the discussion,” said Baldor’s Thomas McQuillan.

Discarded produce now becomes “sparcs” which is the word ‘scraps’ spelled backwards.

“We’re proud to say that 100% of food that goes for production at Baldor never makes it to landfill. It’s either consumed by human or animal.

In this country, 40-percent of food winds up in a landfill. That wasted food costs a family of four about two thousand dollars a year.

“So if global food waste, not just in the US but across the world were its own country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China,” according to Margaret Brown of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

New York’s Haven’s Kitchen Cafe and Culinary School considers repurposing food an important ingredient in their mission.

“You’re always trying to cut cost and utilize as much as you can of a product,” said David Mawhinney of Haven’s Kitchen. “Now I look at vegetables and fruits and what can we do differently.”

They bake a popular café treat with Baldor’s Sparcs called carrot cookies.

Many people feel this is a much more satisfying end of the line for produce, better for our taste buds, our wallets, and our planet.

The NRDC says one in 6 Americans don’t have a sufficient amount of food to eat, adding reducing food waste by just 15-percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year.


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