EPA Unveils Food Waste Report & Recommendations

The EPA recently unveiled two reports aimed at lowering the level of food waste and better managing existing food waste disposal.  

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released two new reports quantifying methane emissions from landfilled food waste and updating recommendations for managing wasted food. Over one-third of the food produced in the United States is never eaten, wasting the resources used to produce, transport, process, and distribute it – and much of it is sent to landfills, where it breaks down and generates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The reports’ findings emphasize the importance of both reducing the amount of food that is wasted and managing its disposal in more environmentally friendly ways. Based on these findings, EPA is releasing an update to its Food Recovery Hierarchy, a tool to help decision-makers, such as state and local governments, understand the best options for managing food waste in terms of environmental impacts. The release of the new ranking – called the Wasted Food Scale – marks the first update since the 1990s, reflecting more recent technological advances and changes in operational practices. EPA’s research confirms that preventing food from being wasted in the first place, or source reduction, is still the most environmentally beneficial approach. Evidence in these reports suggests that efforts should focus on ensuring less food is wasted so that food waste is diverted from landfills, which will reduce environmental impacts.

The new EPA reports include:

Read more about the EPAs findings and recommendations.