Agencies aim to fight food waste, loss

December 14, 2023

The Biden administration launched a National Strategy to Reduce Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics, part of the broader National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health that was announced at last year’s White House conference on nutrition. The new strategy is led by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

Officials from each agency held a White House briefing last week in which UEP and other groups participated. According to EPA, the new strategy has four objectives: (1) preventing food loss, (2) preventing food waste, (3) increasing organic waste recycling and (4) enacting policies to support loss and waste prevention and recycling. The overall goal is a 50% reduction in food loss and waste by 2030.

Examples of the multiple initiatives that are part of the strategy include $30 million in USDA cooperative agreements on composting and food waste, as well as USDA loan guarantees to improve renewable energy systems like methane digesters that can use food waste as a feedstock. Other activities will include efforts by EPA to expand the market for recycled organics and improve the infrastructure for organics recycling.

According to the administration, food loss-related greenhouse gas emissions are equivalent to 60 coal-fired power plants or to the amount of water and energy that could supply 50 million homes a year. A public comment period on the draft strategy is open through Jan. 4, 2024. More information on commenting is here.