Ending Commercial & Institutional Food Waste

According to the ReFED roadmap, consumer-facing businesses, farms, and manufacturers are responsible for approximately 57% of the wasted food generated in the United States. This translates to roughly 36 million tons of wasted food and $74 billion of wasted funds per year. Below is a breakdown by sector with links to specific wasted food reduction strategies:

A first major step to addressing this issue is to conduct an audit of wasted food. Also check out NYSP2I's step-by-step guide, and considering joining the USDA U.S. Food Waste Challenge or the EPA Food Recovery Challenge.  

Feeding Hungry People

Along with implementing source reduction strategies, donating additional surpluses of food will decrease food waste while simultaneously offering crucial assistance to your neighbors who lack stable access to fresh, nutritious food. In their 2012 issue paper, “Wasted”, the NRDC states that 1 in 6 Americans struggle with food security. Check with your local government or food donation agency for food donation options.

The Economic Benefits of Food Donation

Not only will donating surplus food decrease waste disposal costs, but corporations can also earn an enhanced tax deduction for food donations under the Internal Revenue Code Section 170(e)(3).

Food Donation Liability

Liability is often cited as a food donation concern, but under the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, Public Law 104-210, donors are protected from civil and criminal liability if donations are made in good faith through a non-profit organization. New York State donors are additionally protected via New York Law: Agriculture & Markets Article 4-D Liability for Canned, Perishable Food or Farm Products Distributed Free of Charge. More policies can be found via ReFED's U.S. Food Waste Policy Finder.

Food Scraps Recycling

Ultimately, there will always be food scraps that won’t be consumed (e.g., eggshells, coffee grounds, banana peels, etc.) Instead of paying to have these materials produce methane in a landfill, transform them into a valuable resource by instituting one or more of the following recycling practices: