In honor of the central topic of this year's World Environment Day on June 5, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency are collaborating to reduce food waste. Tomorrow, the two agencies plan to launch the U.S. Food Waste Challenge and participants will unveil plans to reduce food waste.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, roughly 30 percent of all food in the United States isn't consumed. Waste occurs at nearly every level of production, wasting resources at the same time that many go hungry both in the U.S. and around the globe. UNEP estimates that the populations of the world's richest countries waste as much food as is produced in sub-Saharan Africa, about 222 million tons.
The challenge has far-reaching objectives:
The goal of the Challenge is to leverage public and private efforts to spread the word about the extent and implications of food waste in the United States; disseminate information about best practices to reduce, recover, and recycle food waste; and stimulate the development of more of these practices across the entire U.S. food chain.
Challenge participants can be anyone "with a stake in the U.S. food chain" including "producer groups, processors, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, food service, industry groups, NGO’s, state, county and city governments, and other Federal agencies." The challenge hopes to raise awareness among individual consumers, but only organizations will be considered formal participants. It will be interesting to see who participates tomorrow.
To learn more about World Environment Day and the ‘Think.Eat.Save campaign visit UNEP.org/WED.