Environmental Law Institute

Environmental Law Institute

Food Waste Initiative
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Patricia Valério

Up to 40 percent of food in the United States is wasted—and 95 percent is disposed of in landfills or incinerated. Diverting food waste from landfills, donating surplus food, and recycling food scraps can help municipalities achieve waste reduction and climate mitigation goals. However, many municipalities do not have data on the food wasted in their jurisdictions. Requiring organizations and companies that produce large amounts of food waste to report their waste is an important first step in reducing it. ELI’s Food Waste Initiative aims to help stakeholders meet the U.S. food loss and waste goals by designing and implementing public policies and public-private initiatives to prevent food waste, increase donations of surplus food, and expand food scrap recycling. In 2022, and in partnership with NRDC, the Initiative created a model ordinance that municipalities can use to require businesses, universities, and other large organizations to report the amounts of food waste and surplus food they generate. This ordinance and other resources on food waste reduction are available through ELI’s Food Waste Initiative website: https://www.eli.org/foodwaste- initiative/food-waste-prevention-recoveryand- recycling.

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