Some countries are addressing food waste better than others. In many ways Europe leads the way, and the U.S. should pay attention.

The U.S. tosses a staggering $161 billion worth of food every year. While numerous efforts are underway to address that problem, they are taking place mostly at the local level or in the business sector. While that is necessary, national- and international-level policy has a role to play as well. And that is one area in which Europe is far ahead.

So, how did Europe leapfrog the U.S. in food waste policy? Karen Luyckx, coordinator of the Pig Idea campaign at the European NGO Feedback, a leader in the food waste movement, said it was Tristram Stuart’s book “Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal” that really shined the light on the issue in Europe.

“The incredible grassroots movement that followed in the shape of Disco Soups, gleaning and Feeding the 5,000 events … throughout Europe was instrumental in getting local-, national- and EU-level authorities to start understanding the issue and the popular appetite to do something about it,” Luyckx told TriplePundit.

It is noteworthy that Stuart’s book is focused on the big picture — looking at the global causes, and impacts, of food waste. This broad perspective has been a mainstay of European efforts to reduce waste. And what followed was quite groundbreaking, particularly in some of Europe’s biggest countries.

Read more: On Food Waste, The US Could Learn a Lot from Europe