U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the addition of six new U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.
These champions are U.S. businesses and organizations pledging to reduce food loss and waste in their own operations by 50 percent by the year 2030. New champions in 2019 and recently announced include: Browns Superstores, Compass Group, Giant Eagle, Hello Fresh, Las Vegas Sands and The Wendy’s Company.
“Food products make up 22 percent of municipal solid waste sent to our nation’s landfills annually, and working with my partners at USDA, we are challenging American businesses and consumers to reduce food waste,” said Wheeler in a statement. “The commitments made by these organizations in joining the Champions program will help propel the U.S. one step closer toward meeting the national goal of reducing food waste and loss 50 percent by 2030.”
“Businesses across the country are stepping up to reduce food loss and waste,” said Perdue in a statement. “We applaud the manufacturers, grocers, restaurants and other businesses that have made a commitment to reduce food loss and waste in their operations, and we call on more businesses to become U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.”
“The elimination of food waste has been a critical component of our Sands ECO360 sustainability plan,” said Las Vegas Sands Senior Vice President of Global Sustainability Katarina Tesarova. “While this is definitely an environmental issue, it is also a social and economic issue. Not only does wasted food end up in the landfill, but there are other implications as well. For instance, we continue to focus on new ways to get excess unserved food to those in the community who are food insecure.”
The six new champions join the list of existing 2030 champions, which include: Ahold Delhaize, Aramark, Blue Apron, Bon Appetit, Campbells, ConAgra, Farmstead, General Mills, Hilton, Kellogg’s, Kroger, Marley Spoon, MGM Resorts, Mom’s Organic Market, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Sprouts, Unilever, Walmart, Wegmans, Weis, Whitsons and Yum! Brands.
EPA noted it has taken significant measures to highlight the need to reduce food waste nationally. In October 2018, EPA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA signed a formal agreement to align efforts across the federal government to educate consumers, engage stakeholders and develop and evaluate solutions to food loss and waste.
The agencies launched Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month in April 2019 with a message from President Trump encouraging public action and participation from all sectors.
In April 2019, Wheeler and leadership from USDA and FDA convened a summit at EPA bringing state and local stakeholders together to form partnerships with leading food waste reduction nongovernmental organizations. At the event, more than 30 governmental organizations signed onto a new pledge in which state, local, tribal and territorial government organizations solidified interest in working with the federal government to continue to build upon existing efforts back home to reduce food loss and waste. At the summit, EPA also announced $110,000 in funding for food waste management and infrastructure projects (to expand anaerobic digestion capacity) in Wisconsin, Vermont and Washington. EPA also opened a Small Business Innovation Research Grants program solicitation in 2019, which included “preventing food waste” as a topic.