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State and Local Food Waste Policy

Each year, the United States generates a huge amount of food that goes uneaten or unsold–over 80 million tons. Of that, 54 million tons of food winds up in landfills or otherwise goes to waste. In recognition of this, over the past few years, more and more states and localities have been considering and enacting policies related to food waste and food recovery. According to the Food Law and Policy Clinic’s (FLPC’s) legislative tracking, during the 2019-20 legislative session, 39 states introduced more than 140 unique bills aiming to reduce food waste or increase food recovery. FLPC is known as a national leader in this field for our work to identify, analyze, and recommend improvements to laws and policies that impact how much food goes to waste in the U.S., including at the state and local levels. 

Our Approach

FLPC plays a major role in the movement of state legislation and regulations, as many states base their policies on our issue briefs and ask us to analyze and testify in support of proposed food waste legislation. FLPC has provided direct technical assistance to more than twenty states and localities on food waste legal and policy questions. This work includes developing legal fact sheets on federal and state laws that relate to food waste, providing guidance to state and local governments on proposed legislation or regulations, and consulting with and educating legislators on strategies for successful legislation. FLPC also conducts regular legislative tracking and reporting on state-level legislation relevant to food waste and food recovery around the country, including researching and evaluating relevant legislation, identifying trends across states, and presenting on these policy trends and innovations around the country and globally. 

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