40% of all food produced in America is ultimately wasted, and food waste has now become the second largest source of organic waste placed in our country’s landfills. Meanwhile, there are nearly 50 million Americans suffering from food insecurity. These two challenges share a common solution. By recovering excess edible food from food waste generators and redirecting it to nonprofit agencies feeding people in need, we can effectively reduce both food waste and food insecurity. In doing so, we can also reduce the unnecessary loss of money and human resources used to grow, process, distribute, and ultimately dispose of edible food.
Current food recovery efforts are typically local in scope, and lack the capacity to service the needs of regional and national food industry companies systemwide. The challenge is to implement a food recovery model that effectively identifies excess edible food and provides multi-regional food waste generators with the ability to donate food to nonprofit agencies in a convenient, seamless process, utilizing food safety steps that are widely accepted in the for-profit food supply chain. There is also a need to aggregate food recovery data that verifies the amount of excess edible food diverted from landfills in participating jurisdictions.
Donating excess edible food is not only the right thing to do; but also there are cost benefits associated with reducing food waste as well. Further, it will help agencies gain regulatory compliance, as a growing number of states are mandating a reduction in food waste destined for local landfills, where it creates toxic methane gas (a known greenhouse gas pollutant).