Under the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, the industries of manufacturing, retail, restaurant and waste and recycling have joined forces to keep edible food out of landfill through donations.
“Forty percent of what’s grown, harvested and transported in the United States is never consumed,” says Ted Monk, vice president of corporate responsibility for Sodexo USA. “It’s shocking when there are 48 million food insecure people in this country. So our aim is to encourage our managers to connect in communities where they work to ensure no food goes to waste.”
Nonprofit organization Feeding America is also working rescue edible food. Each year, the nonprofit rescues approximately 2.8 billion pounds of food to help feed hungry Americans. And Karen Hanner, managing director of manufacturing product sourcing for Feeding America, believes waste companies can boost Feeding America’s efforts.
“As haulers work with their customers, they can encourage them to separate out and donate,” she says. “They see patterns of food that could be salvaged so they can serve as community partners by feeding people and capturing what should not be wasted.”
A longtime member of the waste and recycling industry, Chaz Miller, director of policy/advocacy of the National Waste and Recycling Association, recently reflected on his experience volunteering at a food bank.
“To my surprise, working at a food bank was also a good lesson on the importance of good packaging in avoiding food waste,” says Miller. “We filled several trash cans with food that could not be donated. In most cases, it was due to what I would call ‘package failure.’”