On September 16th, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the nation’s first initiative to reduce food waste. The Obama administration set a goal to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030. To halve food waste, USDA and EPA are partnering with charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector, and local governments to streamline waste reduction efforts.
“The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “An average family of four leaves more than two million calories, worth nearly $1500, uneaten each year. Our new reduction goal demonstrates America’s leadership on a global level in getting wholesome food to people who need it, protecting our natural resources, cutting environmental pollution and promoting innovative approaches for reducing food loss and waste.”’
Many advocacy organizations, anti-hunger coalitions, and food sustainability campaigns have been working to create awareness of the magnitude of food waste nationwide. And these efforts are part of a larger, worldwide movement to reduce food waste. The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) hopes to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2020 through the Milan Protocol. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) works to quantify the global costs of food waste to create momentum for food waste reduction initiatives.
“Today is a historic day for anyone who eats,” said Dana Gunders, Staff Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Wasted food is wasted money, wasted water, wasted land and wasted energy. America is taking solid action to keep more food on our plates.” These actions rolling out a food waste education tool through the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion’s website.
Reducing food waste not only saves American resources, but also contributes to a more sustainable future. “Let’s feed people, not landfills. By reducing wasted food in landfills, we cut harmful methane emissions that fuel climate change, conserve our natural resources, and protect our planet for future generations” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Today’s announcement presents a major environmental, social and public health opportunity for the U.S., and we’re proud to be part of a national effort to reduce the food that goes into landfills.”