U.S. Government Rolls Out National Strategy to Halve Food Waste by 2030

foodImage by Nadin Dunnigan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with The White House, has recently unveiled the National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics. The ambitious new initiative is part of President Biden’s holistic approach to battle climate change, alleviate hunger, uphold environmental justice issues, and promote a circular economy.

The new strategy aims to provide specific goals that the government, partnering with retailers and consumers, can strive to achieve. These objectives include curbing food loss and waste, promoting the recycling of food and other organic materials to bolster a more sustainable economic system. The initiative also focuses on diminishing greenhouse gas emissions, saving households and businesses money, and building cleaner, healthier communities.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack voiced his support for the strategy, citing the country’s collective effort in reducing food loss and waste as crucial. He expressed optimism in the outlined actions for USDA and emphasized the importance of everyone’s role in this initiative.

On a similar note, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan highlighted how food waste negatively impacts the economy, contributes to climate pollution and hikes up the cost of food. He sees the new national strategy as a comprehensive plan of actions aimed at reducing waste and protecting the environment while improving food security and generating savings for American families.

The strategy’s ultimate goal is a 50% reduction in food loss and waste by 2030, aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3. The strategy targets four main objectives: preventing food loss, preventing food waste, increasing the recycling rate for organic waste, and backing policies that encourage prevention of food loss and organic recycling.

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To help reach these objectives, the USDA has committed to several priority actions. Among them are investing $2.5 million to test the effectiveness of various consumer messages to reduce food waste and allocating $1.5 million to create a Center for Research, Behavioral Economics, and Extension on Food Loss and Waste. The aim is to generate meaningful momentum on food loss and waste prevention among universities, their partners and external stakeholders.

The National Strategy also underscores the importance of public-private partnerships in reducing food waste. On June 1, all three agencies renewed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, a partnership that will explore actions to reach industry sectors.

Moreover, notable industry giants, including Starbucks, Hilton, and Kroger, have publicly pledged their commitment to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030 in their U.S. operations as part of the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions pledge.

While a great deal of work lies ahead, the government’s strategy offers a promising step toward creating a more sustainable, waste-free future. Its success will not only offer financial benefits but also significantly contribute to the fight against climate change, setting a robust example for other nations to follow in their quest for sustainability.

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