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Time To Do Something About Food Waste

On June 4th, 2013, in advance of World Environment Day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge.  Secretary Tom Vilsack and EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe announced their agencies’ commitments to reduce, recover and recycle food waste – and called on others to join in the effort.  At the event were representatives from private-sector partners and supporters, including Rio Farms, Unilever, General Mills, the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, Feeding America, and Rock and Wrap It Up!.

“Food waste in the United States is estimated at roughly between 30 to 40 percent of the food supply,” said Secretary Vilsack. “We are calling on private and public businesses and institutions across the food chain to join the U.S. Food Waste Challenge.  Our goal is have 400 participants by 2015 and 1,000 by 2020. This level of participation would signal the development of a fundamental shift in how we think about and manage food and food waste in the United States.”

As part of its contribution to the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, USDA is initiating a wide range of activities including activities to reduce waste in the school meals program, educate consumers about food waste and food storage, and develop new technologies to reduce food waste.  USDA will also work with industry to increase donations from imported produce that does not meet standards, streamline procedures for donating wholesome misbranded meat and poultry products, update U.S. food loss estimates at the retail level, and pilot-test a meat-composting program to reduce the amount of meat being sent to landfills from food safety inspection labs.

Through its Food Recovery Challenge, EPA will provide U.S. Food Waste Challenge participants with the opportunity to access data management software and technical assistance ( to help them quantify and improve their sustainable food management practices.

7 Responses to “Time To Do Something About Food Waste”

  1. greg gerritt says:

    Good idea, should have been done 10 years ago.

  2. Gary Kellstrom says:

    Great program. Eliminating waste has environmental and economic benefit. Please take a look at our efforts to help you reduce waste (Bottle Snaps via Kickstarter).

  3. Janet O'Dell says:


    USDA makes me prouder everyday to be an employee when they do the RIGHT thing – especially when they do the right thing for our environment and our planet. Without a healthy planet – humans will NOT thrive or survive. To just live for today is very foolish and selfish.

    A little off of the food recycling topic… Several northern states actually give financial incentives to their residents for recycling and preventing plastics, metals, glass, etc. from going into landfills. For payment they get a credit/reduction on their city water bills.

  4. Jonas says:

    Every citizen needs 1st Graded food, but manufactures, suppliers and exporters always have 2nd grade and misbranded products out of the their products. Who needs those grades, the answer is the solution.

  5. Mary Rose Deak says:

    Perhaps if grocery retail manufacturers and their supplies could participate in a municipal recycling/ food waste program at the local level, the waste could be picked up, composted at the transfer station with the leaves and grass clippings that the town picks up. Then the compost/humus could be given or sold to local farmers and gardeners at a reasonable rate to offset the cost of the program.

  6. Morgan Levy says:

    I have been fighting for this for ove 20 years in Miami-Dade County but the county sold waste department will not allow any composting of organic waste products to be done. There is sufficient available organic waste in addition to what is dedicated to a landfill and incineration in a bond agreement but the solid waste department will not include composting in its new 20-year long range plan. Shame on Miami-Dade Solid Waste Management Department.

  7. Skip Shapiro says:

    Everyday, anywhere in the U. S. Skip Shapiro Enterprises LLC finds beneficial reuse for food and beverage waste primarily from agriculture,manufacturing,and retailing.
    Since our inception in 2007 ,we have diverted more than 1 million tons of food and beverage waste from our Nation’s overburdened landfills.
    Proud to join this initiative!

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