We at Chicken Thief Kitchens from time to time will take on a social or grass roots endeavor or cause to help its promotion. Today, the US EPA and USDA partnered on an announcement concerning their partnership at a Federal level to reduce the amount of food waste. US EPA’s Administrator Gina McCarthy and USDA’s Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the first ever National Food Waste Reduction Goal of 50% by 2030. Through a new partnership with federal, state and local governmental agencies, faith based organizations, charitable organizations and the private sector, this new Federal program aims to reduce food waste, increase food security and protection of our national resources. The full article is included at the bottom of this post (a web page link will be updated when available).
When we think about our own use of the various groceries we purchase or grow and bring into our homes, we think it is equally important to give thought to the potential volume of waste that will result. Now is a good time to take stock on ways to reduce such. There can be ways we each can reduce the amount of food waste produced by our households, either by planning ahead, being conservative with portion sizes, maintaining left overs in a manner which preserves them for use 1, 2, 3 days later and consuming the left overs are but a few. If we each do our part, the little contributions will add up. Consider this, in what ways can I help to reduce my addition to the national or global use and waste of food stocks. Through conservation and planning efforts our contributions can help.
EPA and USDA Announcement
September 16, 2015
EPA and USDA Join Private Sector, Charitable Organizations to Set Nation’s First Goals to Reduce Wasted Food
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the United States’ first-ever national food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50-percent reduction by 2030. As part of the effort, the federal government will lead a new partnership 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. The announcement occurs just one week before world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to address sustainable development practices, including sustainable production and consumption. As the global population continues to grow, so does the need for food waste reduction.
“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.”
“The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This announcement demonstrates America’s leadership on a global level in getting wholesome food to people who need it, efficient use of natural resources, cutting environmental pollution and promoting innovative approaches for reducing food loss and waste.”
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 and has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change. 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, which fuel climate change. This large volume of wasted food is a main contributor to the roughly 18 percent of total U.S. methane emissions that come from landfills. Landfills are the third largest source of methane in the United States.
Furthermore, 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. It is estimated that at the retail and consumer levels in the United States, food loss and waste totals $161 billion dollars.
Ongoing federal initiatives are already building momentum for long-term success. In 2013, USDA and EPA launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, creating a platform for leaders and organizations across the food chain to share best practices on ways to reduce, recover, and recycle food loss and waste. By the end of 2014, the U.S. Food Waste Challenge had over 4,000 active participants, well surpassing its initial goal of reaching 1,000 participants by 2020. EPA is working with nearly 800 grocers, restaurants, venues, stadiums, and other organizations to reduce wasted food through prevention, donation, and composting. In 2014, participants inEPA’s Food Recovery Challenge diverted nearly 606,000 tons of wasted food, which included over 88,500 tons donated to people in need.
USDA and EPA will also continue to encourage the private sector—food service companies, institutions, restaurants, grocery stores, and more—to set their own aggressive goals for reducing food loss and waste in the months ahead. Organizations such as the Consumer Goods Forum, which recently approved a new resolution to halve food waste within the operations of its 400 retailer and manufacturers members by 2025, are helping to lead the way.
The United States is leading global efforts to address the threat of climate change. The first-ever national food waste goal is just one part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to protecting our environment for future generations. Since President Obama took office in 2009, the United States has increased solar generation by more than ten-fold, tripled electricity production from wind power, and reduced greenhouse gas pollution in the United States to its lowest levels in nearly 20 years. By setting achievable environmental goals, this Administration is making strides to help boost the economy and protect the health of American families for the long-term.