The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week released the “Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics.”

The Agencies in their summary stated that “the goal of the strategy is to prevent the loss and waste of food and increase recycling of organic materials, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save households and businesses money, and build cleaner communities.”

The draft has four stated objectives:

  1. Prevent the loss of food where possible,
  2. Prevent the waste of food where possible,
  3. Increase the recycling rate for all organic waste, and
  4. Support policies that incentivize and encourage food loss and waste prevention and organics recycling.

This current draft is the result of a 2015 joint Agency agreement to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030. By the calculations of the involved agencies, food waste makes up 58 percent of the methane emissions from landfills. The Agencies also state that food loss/waste contributes greatly to climate change, air pollutants, water scarcity, biodiversity loss, along with soil and water quality degradation. The Agencies state that the policy will increase food access for food-insecure American, create innovation-related new jobs and industries, increase supply chain resiliency overall, and deliver financial savings to households.

Generating “animal food” out of food and organic waste that would normally be moved into landfills was an often-mentioned solution.  In particular, USDA is “investing in innovations to reduce food loss and waste or to make new products out of scraps and other resources-including…using insect meal for animal food.” They also wish to upcycle food ingredients and processing byproducts into new foods for animal that would be otherwise lost, though only where economically feasible and safe.

Comments on the draft strategy are due on January 4, 2024.