Members of Congress today introduced the NO TIME TO Waste Act to address the issue of food loss and waste in the United States through a variety of measures. With the United States’ pledge to halve food loss and waste by 2030 quickly approaching, the Zero Food Waste Coalition enthusiastically endorses this legislation as integral to implementing nationwide solutions to food loss and waste.
The New Opportunities for Technological Innovation, Mitigation, and Education To Overcome Waste Act (NO TIME TO Waste Act) emphasizes increased administrative coordination, expanded food loss and waste research and technology development, and scaled support of state and local food loss and waste policy solutions. It was introduced by Senators Coons (D – DE) and Moran (R – KS), along with Representatives Pingree (D – ME), and Lawler (R – NY), acknowledging the critical role that policy must play to address the soaring rate at which food produced in the United States is wasted – about 38% – and its impact on people, the planet, and the economy.
The Zero Food Waste Coalition is a group of over 100 organizations dedicated to supporting food loss and waste policy solutions, led by the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and ReFED. The Act calls for innovative food loss and waste solutions in line with the priorities that the Zero Food Waste Coalition previously identified as key to combatting food loss and waste.
The Zero Food Waste Coalition made the following statement about the legislation: “The NO TIME TO Waste Act recognizes the need for responsible food loss and waste policy in order to respond to the climate and hunger crises in the United States. We are excited to support this bill and we thank Senators Coons and Moran and Representatives Pingree and Lawler on their stewardship of innovative food loss and waste federal policy. This bill takes meaningful steps toward a future with a sustainable and resilient food system by supporting better coordination amongst government agencies, infrastructure to reduce food waste and boost food recovery, and consumer education and awareness campaigns.”
One of the primary goals of the NO TIME TO Waste Act is to increase coordination among various levels of government on the issue of food loss and waste. The bill would establish, for example, an Office of Food Loss and Waste that would support the existing Food Loss and Waste Reduction Liaison in spearheading government action.
“Food waste and hunger harms more than 34 million Americans and disproportionately impacts rural communities in Delaware and across our nation,” said Senator Coons. “My bipartisan NO TIME TO Waste Act strengthens collaborative efforts between federal agencies, supports public-private partnerships, and raises public awareness about the impact of food loss. By addressing food loss and waste, we can improve children’s health, fight malnutrition, and even protect our environment without putting more strain on family farms across the country.”
As the primary regulators of municipal solid waste, state policy makers and regulators are at the vanguard of the movement to prevent food waste from going to landfill where it generates harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The bill would support these leaders by creating a grant program to collect data on state and local food waste policies and by expanding eligibility for existing certain food waste funding to include State and Tribal governments as well as public-private partnerships.
The bill also includes other impactful solutions such as authorizing a food waste education and public awareness campaign, supporting innovative research and technology development of upcycled food solutions, and creating regional coordinators at the USDA to connect food businesses with food recovery organizations. The Zero Food Waste Coalition calls on Congress to follow Senators Coons and Moran and Representatives Pingree and Lawler’s leadership by passing the Act or including its provisions in the 2023 Farm Bill. This bipartisan legislation would take the United States one step closer toward meeting its goal to halve food loss and waste by 2030.