Back to Specialty Food News

States Recycle, Donate Excess Food

New York, among other states, has begun targeting food waste over concerns that it is needlessly contributing to climate change and taking up precious landfill space, reports AP News. Additionally, rescuing discarded food items that are still safe to eat can help alleviate another issue: hunger.

In the U.S., roughly 40 percent of food is wasted, according to the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic. Of the food wasted, the country spends approximately $218 billion on its production.

“What’s shocking to people often is not only how much we waste ... but also the impact,” said Emily Broad Leib, a Harvard University law professor and director of the school’s Food Law and Policy Clinic. “Food waste causes about 8 percent to 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

In 2015, the USDA and Environmental Protection Agency announced a goal to half food waste by 2030, which has prompted states and nonprofits to take action. Since then, ten states and Washington D.C. have passed legislation or executed sustainability policies focused on reducing waste and diverting it from landfills.

Several states, including New York, have set up systems to allow food to be donated. In New York, one such program requires larger businesses to donate edible food and, if they can, recycle remaining food scraps.

“Years ago, everything went in the garbage ... to the landfills, the compactors or wherever it was,” said Sean Rafferty, store manager of ShopRite of Elmsford-Greenburgh in New York who has 40 years in the industry. “Now, over the years, so many programs have developed where we’re able to donate all this food... where we’re helping people with food insecurities.” Full Story

Related: Food City, Eastman Chemical Co. Partner on Recycling; Members in the News: Pepe Saya, The Spare Food Co., Good Good, Saffron Road