Food Waste Landfill Ban: Recycling Food Waste, The Where and The How

Food waste is by no means a new issue. Concerns about access to nutrition and edible food being wasted stretch back centuries. The current food waste issue in the U.S. involves a focus on the scale of the problem and the environmental and financial drawbacks that come along with such a substantial level of waste. Organizations that generate a lot of food waste, from restaurants and grocery stores to universities and large hospitals, have plenty of incentives to reduce and eventually eliminate such refuse. Not only are there financial benefits, but opportunities to appeal to stakeholders and help the local and global environment as well.


Food waste is the single largest component of the country’s overall waste stream, accounting for roughly 21 percent of the total amount of garbage reaching landfills and incinerators. Considering 20 percent of methane emissions come from landfills, the connection between food waste and pollution is clear. Another way to take stock of this issue is to consider how much food is left uneaten. USDA projections find waste accounts for between 30-40 percent of the total food supply, a staggering figure that helps contextualize the sheer volume of waste seen across all industries and steps in the supply chain. Food waste is an issue for several reasons. The production of methane and other waste gases that contribute to climate change is an important factor to consider, but far from the only one. The number of people in the U.S. that lack regular, secure access to food is another point to consider. About 42 million Americans live in food insecure households, meaning they have impediments to consistent access to safe, edible foods.

Check out Food Waste Recycling: The Where and the How to learn more about how to recycle food waste in different states. This in-depth look at regulations from across the country is a great guide to getting a food waste recycling program established.

Food waste is an issue for several reasons. The production of methane and other waste gases that contribute to climate change is an important factor to consider, but far from the only one. The number of people in the U.S. that lack regular, secure access to food is another point to consider. About 42 million Americans live in food insecure households, meaning they have impediments to consistent access to safe, edible foods.

The financial costs of food waste must also be addressed. A USDA estimate found $161 billion in food waste per year. Simply put, businesses lose money when they waste food. Reducing food waste helps address all of these problems. That means correcting a single issue through minimizing food waste provides a wide range of powerful benefits.

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