A Call to Action on
US Food Loss & Waste Policy

At least 35% of all food in the US is left behind in fields or goes to waste, while millions of Americans face food insecurity.
The time to act is now.

The Challenge

Each year, between 30-40% of all food in the US is unsold or uneaten. That’s $408 billion worth of food—roughly 2% of US GDP—and about 4% of US GHG emissions. Most becomes food waste, heading straight to landfill, incineration, down the drain, or it's left in the fields be tilled back under. All while millions face hunger and our ecosystems are degraded. This issue was exacerbated as the COVID-19 pandemic created massive disruptions in the food system. Farmers lost markets as businesses shut down, grocery shelves sat empty, food pantry lines ran for miles as a spotlight was shone on the gaps in our systems; even more food was lost as food insecurity grew. Addressing this challenge is essential to building a regenerative and resilient food system that helps mitigate climate change, reverses nature loss, and feeds more people.

The Solution

Businesses, government agencies, funders, and many others are already taking huge strides to address this challenge—but a massive acceleration is needed. We are calling on the Biden administration and Congress to take ambitious action to achieve national and international goals to reduce food loss and waste 50% by 2030 through five key actions.

  1. Invest in Prevention and Keep Waste out of Landfills

    Food is the single largest input by weight into US landfills and incinerators, where it causes social and environmental harm. Investing in infrastructure and programs that measure and prevent waste, incentivize rescue of surplus and safe excess food, and keep it out of landfills will help achieve climate gains, improve our country's soils, boost profits for farmers, and feed more people.

      • Offer Funding for States and Cities that Incentivizes Organic Waste Measurement, Rescue, Recycling, and Prevention (Congress, Administration)

      • Require the Development of Food Waste Measurement Planning and Transparency (Congress, EPA)

      • Build Demand for Compost (USDA, Congress)

      • Fund Development of Public-Private Partnerships (Congress)

      • Eliminate Barriers to Feeding Food Scraps to Animals (USDA, FDA)

    Read more detail
  2. Enable Surplus Food Donation

    Less than 10% of excess food is donated rather than wasted. Through policy revisions, creating alternative markets, and strengthening regional supply chains, we can make it easier for farmers, retailers, and all foodservice organizations to donate excess food to help feed those in need in our communities.

      • Expand the Federal Enhanced Tax Deduction for Food Donation to Include Non-Profit Sales and Transport (Congress)

      • Enable Greater Food Donation by Farmers (Congress)

      • Strengthen Liability Protections for Food Donation (Congress)

      • Clarify Guidance on Food Safety for Donations (FDA, Congress)

      • Continue to Create Alternative Market Channels for Producers and Consumers (USDA, Congress)

      • Establish New Positions for Regional Supply Chain Coordinators (USDA, Congress)

    Read more detail
  3. Show US Leadership at Home and Abroad

    The US has one of the world’s highest levels of food waste per person. It is vital for the nation’s food security, climate, economic, and recovery objectives that we set a leading example on how to drive solutions.

      • Embed FLW Reduction in US Nationally Determined Contribution (Administration)

      • Require Federal Facilities to Measure, Rescue, Recycle, and Prevent Organic Waste, and to Purchase Finished Compost Products (Administration, Congress)

      • Fund and Incentivize FLW Innovation (Congress)

      • Boost Funding for the Federal Interagency Effort to Reduce Food Waste (Congress)

    Read more detail
  4. Educate and Activate Consumers

    37% of food waste happens at the US household level. We must educate and empower Americans to change their behaviors everywhere that they eat, in coordination with efforts in consumer-facing businesses to drive better food management.

      • Fund Research and Awareness Campaigns to Reduce Consumer Food Waste (Congress, USDA, EPA, FDA)

      • Pass the School Food Recovery Act (Congress, USDA)

    Read more detail
  5. Standardize National Date Labeling

    Date label confusion is one of the leading causes of consumer and consumer-facing business food waste. We need consistent labels, standardized at the federal level, and streamlined public education on how to use and interpret.

      • Pass the Food Date Labeling Act (Congress)

    Read more detail

Founding Supporters

Supporters

  • American Hotel & Lodging Association

  • Baltimore City Department of Public Works

  • Baltimore Office of Sustainability

  • BioCycle, The Organics Recycling Authority

  • Center for EcoTechnology

  • City and County of Denver

  • City of Asheville, Office of Sustainability

  • City of Atlanta, Mayor's Office of Resilience

  • City of Madison, WI

  • City of Orlando

  • City of Portland, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

  • Claneil Foundation

  • Clean Memphis

  • Collaboration Connection

  • Companies For Zero Waste

  • Environmental Law Institute

  • Food Recovery Network

  • Food Rescue US

  • FoodPLUS Detroit

  • Go2Zero Strategies, LLC

  • Healthy Way Market

  • Hellmann's Best Foods

  • Hilton

  • Hyatt

  • ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA

  • IDEAS For Us

  • Institute for Local Self-Reliance

  • Jersey City Environmental Commission

  • Last Mile Food Rescue

  • Make Food Not Waste

  • Marriott International

  • Novamont North America

  • PCC Community Markets

  • Persea Naturals LLC

  • Plant Based Products Council

  • San Diego Food System Alliance

  • Seattle Public Utilities

  • SH Hotels & Resorts

  • Sustainable Events Network, Florida & Caribbean

  • Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

  • The City of Philadelphia Office of Sustainability

  • The Kroger Co.

  • Think Zero LLC

  • Too Good To Go

  • Unilever

  • Urban Green Lab

  • US Composting Council

  • Vanguard Renewables

  • Winnow

  • Zero Waste in DC


Additional supporters will be added on a rolling basis