Alternative Approaches to Reducing Impact of Food Waste

Food waste in the United States is a pervasive issue which has far-reaching negative economic, environmental, and social implications. Food loss and food waste occurs at every step of the food supply chain, however, many who waste food are not aware of the consequences of their actions, and repeat their habits if not educated. The government passed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act which aimed to exempt liability from those who donated food to nonprofits organizations. However, this bill proved to be largely unsuccessful as companies were not protected from negative press resulting from food donations. There is little quantitative data available in the United States, where much of the life cycle analysis has been done in European countries. Without measurable studies and data, policymakers are reluctant to create and support policy. Government incentives are needed to encourage growth in the food waste industry as currently, there are high barriers to entry. The most impactful approach will be a holistic approach first and foremost through education around food waste to produce a cultural shift and increase home composting and awareness around food waste and its global significance. Measurement tracking tools must be implemented with already existing technologies and any initiatives that are in the stages of being planned.