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USDA Roundtable Highlighted Food Waste Reduction Success Stories

Posted by Jean C. Buzby, USDA Food Loss and Waste Liaison in Food and Nutrition Health and Safety
Oct 28, 2021
A person throwing out food into the trash

On September 15, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted a virtual roundtable titled Exploring Food Waste Solutions: Success Stories from the U.S. and Beyond. This event showcased innovative policies and approaches to reducing food waste in the United States, Europe, and the United Kingdom. The moderator, Emily Broad Leib from the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, discussed how food laws can be a barrier to food waste reduction when they are confusing and a motivator when they align incentives, such as to donate wholesome excess food to those in need.

Josh Kelly of the Vermont State Waste Management and Prevention Division highlighted the success of Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law, which bans the landfilling of all food waste, including household waste. Todd Lawrence from Urban Green Lab shared Nashville Food Waste Initiative’s multi-faceted approach, which included a procurement policy compelling the use of composted food waste in the landscaping around government buildings. ReLondon CEO Wayne Hubbard spoke about London’s partnership to improve waste and resource management and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon city. Sarah Feteih from the San Diego Food System Alliance shared how San Diego had an online social competition that engaged residents in food waste tracking challenges and reduced household-level food waste by 38 percent.

Filippo Gavazzeni from the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact highlighted how the Pact is helping over 200 cities around the world work together in addressing systematic issues within the food supply chains, including preventing food loss and waste. The Pact has collected a library of over 370 best practices and helps transfer knowledge to other signatory cities. The Pact is interested in having more U.S. cities join their efforts to reduce food waste.

Watch a recording of this roundtable.

Read other blogs about food loss and waste.