The agencies are calling for a 50 percent reduction by 2030 and are looking to partner with organizations, including private-sector entities, to help achieve that result. A new education campaign will also be part of the effort.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced the first national food-waste reduction goal, calling for a 50 percent reduction by 2030.
In making the announcement, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg said they will partner with “charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments to reduce food loss and waste in order to improve overall food security and conserve our nation’s natural resources.”
As the global population continues to grow, so does the need for food-waste reduction, the announcement noted.
“The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste,” Vilsack said. “An average family of four leaves more than 2 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,” Vilsack said.
Food loss and waste in the United States accounts for approximately 31 percent — or 133 billion pounds — of the overall food supply available to retailers and consumers. Food loss and waste is the single largest component of disposed U.S. municipal solid waste, and accounts for a significant portion of U.S. methane emissions. Landfills are the third-largest source of methane in the United States.
Experts have projected that reducing food losses by just 15 percent would provide enough food for more than 25 million Americans every year, helping to sharply reduce incidences of food insecurity for millions.
The USDA is also launching a new consumer education campaign through its Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion with information on food loss and waste facts and reduction tips. Additionally, a new section on the ChooseMyPlate.gov website will educate consumers about reducing food waste to help stretch household budgets.
The USDA and EPA also plan to continue to encourage the private sector—foodservice companies, institutions, restaurants, grocery stores, and more—to set their own aggressive goals for reducing food loss and waste in the months ahead.