Recognizing Environmental Costs and Economic Impacts, U.S. Government Announces Goal to Cut Food Waste in Half

Recognizing Environmental Costs and Economic Impacts, U.S. Government Announces Goal to Cut Food Waste in Half

As the production of food waste continues to be a common occurrence around the country and world, government and private stakeholders begin tackling the issue with ambitious reduction goals.

Food is a type of fuel for life, and food waste can be treated as a type of fuel as well. Unfortunately, most of it goes to waste in ways that are detrimental to the environment and come at an economic and social loss, rather than a benefit. Current infrastructure within communities, businesses, and the world have made sustainable use of food waste a challenging prospect, and it will take a multi-faceted approach to get reach broad and impactful goals. Reduction in waste is part of the comprehensive approach.

On Wednesday [September 16], the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency announced the first official national goal for decreasing food waste across the country. Launched in partnership with state and local governments, private sector companies, and charitable organizations, the goal aims at reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030.

Food waste has been growing in the United States since the Second World War, nearly tripling from 12.2 million tons in the 1960s to 35 million tons in 2012. Over the same period of time, the number of food insecure Americans — those who have a problem enjoying consistent access to food — has grown from one in 20 in 1968 to one in six in 2014.

Globally, the total emissions released from food waste in 2007 was more than twice the amount of greenhouse gases released by all the road transportation in the United States in 2010. Food that is wasted also means that all the resources that go into making food — fossil fuels for farm equipment and transport, water for irrigation, land for farming — are wasted as well.

“The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said during the announcement. “An average family of four leaves more than two million calories, worth nearly $1,500, uneaten each year.”

As it will take time to make food production and processing more efficient in order to reduce waste on such large scales—both on household and industrial levels—other steps can be taken alongside waste reduction to minimize the negative impacts of the inevitable waste that communities do produce.

Notably, Team Gemini actively works on projects involving industrial food producers to turn food and related agriculture waste into value-added resources like electricity, thermal energy, fertilizer, compost, and biofuels. Thanks to technologies in our closed-loop Bio Refinery model, Team Gemini collaborates with its team members to implement custom solutions to maximize resource creation and minimize operating and environmental costs. So while we may be many years away from truly eliminating detrimental food waste sources, existing technologies position us to turn them into beneficial resources.

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For the original article about the U.S. government announcement, you can check out this link.