Each year, between 30-40% of all food in the United States is unsold or uneaten. Most becomes food waste, heading straight to landfill, incineration, down the drain, or left in the fields—all while millions face hunger and our ecosystems are degraded. Addressing this challenge is essential to building a regenerative and resilient food system that helps to mitigate climate change, reverse nature loss, and feeds more people.
Today, the Zero Food Waste Act was introduced in the House by Representatives Julia Brownley (D-CA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and Chellie Pingree (D- ME), while Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced companion legislation in the Senate. This legislation would advance the goal of halving US food loss and waste by 2030 and reduce the climate impacts of food waste by establishing a new EPA program for state, local, and tribal communities to lead efforts to measure, prevent, and build the infrastructure necessary to decrease food waste across America.
Under the bill, planning grants could be used by states and local, tribal, and territorial governments to investigate the kinds of food waste mitigation projects or policies that would be most impactful in their communities. Measurement grants could be used by states and local, tribal, and territorial governments to better understand the amount of food waste generated in the state or community.
Reduction grants could be used by states and local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as nonprofits, to fund a variety of different types of projects. For example, food waste prevention projects could stop the generation of food waste. Recycling projects could reuse food waste as a feedstock for other non-food products, such as composting. Rescuing projects could redirect surplus food to places like food shelters. Upcycling projects could make new food from ingredients that would otherwise go to landfills. Additionally, localities could use the grant funding to implement food waste landfill disposal or incineration restrictions designed to stop food waste.
Reducing food waste is an important component in the fight against climate change, while also being a more efficient use of our natural resources and a way to create new jobs in the resulting industry. FLPC, WWF, NRDC, ReFED and supporters of the national Food Waste Action Plan welcome the introduction of the bill and strongly support its passage.