By Carol Neshevich
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have officially announced the U.S.’s first-ever national food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50-per-cent reduction in food waste by 2030.
To achieve this goal, the U.S. federal government will be forming a new partnership with a group of charitable and faith-based organizations, private sector organizations, and local, state and tribal governments. It’s expected that the efforts stemming from this partnership will greatly improve overall food security and help conserve the U.S.’s natural resources.
This announcement occurred just one week before world leaders were scheduled to gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to address sustainable development practices.
“The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “An average family of four leaves more than two million calories – worth nearly $1,500 – 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.”
Currently, food loss and waste in the U.S. accounts for approximately 31 per cent (or 133 billion pounds) of the overall food supply available to retailers and consumers. Food loss and waste is the largest component of disposed U.S. municipal solid waste, accounting for a significant portion of methane emissions. Experts have projected that reducing food loss by as little as 15 per cent would provide enough food for more than 25 million Americans every year.
“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,” says 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.”