In the last post we talked about what food waste is. Today we will talk about some of the government’s initiatives intended to stop food waste.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) partnered with the USDA in 2013 to launch the Food Waste Challenge to cut food waste in half by 2030. As part of this initiative the EPA created a Food Recovery Hierarchy in order to reduce food waste from the most preferred method to the least preferred method. Below is a picture of that model that came from the EPA website. www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-hierarchy
From the info-graphic above we can see that the most preferred method of food reduction is reducing the amount of waste period. This includes being aware of how much we put on our plates, what we buy in the grocery store etc.
The least preferred method is discarding food waste in a landfill which can increase greenhouse gases in the environment.
As the consumers we can help reduce waste at any part of the food hierarchy.
Re-fed Solutions to Food Waste
In addition to the government initiatives, there are also the initiatives put forth by non-profits. Re-fed is one such non-profit that is sponsored by community, business, and government organizations committed to reducing food waste by 2030.
They have created a model similar to the Food Hierarchy known as the Road map to Reduce US Food Waste. This map can be downloaded from their website if you sign-up for their newsletter. The map is part of an economic based study and can be summarized in three parts.
1.) Prevention– Much like the EPA’s model prevention simply means diverting food from landfills. Making sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. Examples include, educating yourself, your children, and your families, buying only the essentials of what you really need, creating shopping lists, and not taking more than you will eat.
2.) Recovery– Re-distributing edible/extra food to those who need it. An example of recovery is gleaning, which is collecting excess foods from farms, gardens, markets, etc. for those who really need it. The Society of St. Andrew is one such non-profit that gleans food for distribution.
3.) Recycling – Reusing what you can or giving something old a new purpose. Examples included turning leftovers into more meals or composting. Although, composting is low on the Hierarchy it’s still better than a landfill.
To read more about Re-fed and the EPA follow the links or read more at WM Media Room.
Tune in the next few weeks and we’ll talk about 2 ways you can re-invent your holiday leftovers and get you back in the kitchen with your kids this season.