Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-2pzkn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-18T02:12:41.668Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Curbing food waste: A review of recent policy and action in the USA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 September 2017

Bhavneet Walia
Affiliation:
Falk College of Sport & Human Dynamics, Syracuse, NY, USA. Maxwell School of Public Policy, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA.
Shane Sanders*
Affiliation:
Falk College, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA.
*
*Corresponding author: sdsander@syr.edu

Abstract

The present study reviews previous published estimates as to the scale of food waste in the USA and its ecological toll (e.g., in terms of methane emissions and water usage to support the production of wasted food). The review further discusses recent public policy and private action designed to curb food waste or to apply wasted food toward hunger alleviation, biofuel production and soil nourishment. We further consider and expand upon previous estimates comparing the scale of food waste to the present scale of the US hunger problem. These estimates suggest that the recovery and redirection of an additional 15% of the present stock of edible food waste would meet 35% of the caloric needs of all Americans living in a food insecure household or very low food security household. Then, a modest to moderate proportional increase in edible food waste recovery could greatly reduce the US hunger problem in its present state. We estimate that the successful redirection of 15% of presently-wasted (edible) food in the USA would be sufficient to fully sustain 18.45 million individuals. Given available data, we cannot precisely assess the nutritional characteristics of this potential stock of food. The present study emphasizes the traditional and future importance of integrated public policy and private action at the municipal level, as food waste is typically disposed of or recovered at this level.

Type
New Concepts and Case Studies
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Buzby, J.C., Farah-Wells, H., and Hyman, J. 2014. The estimated amount, value, and calories of postharvest food losses at the retail and consumer levels in the United States. USDA-ERS Economic Information Bulletin, (121).Google Scholar
City Harvest. 2015 a. 500 Million Pounds. [online] City Harvest. Available at Web site http://www.cityharvest.org/500millionpounds.Google Scholar
City Harvest. 2015 b. Food Rescue. [online] City Harvest. Available at Web site http://www.cityharvest.org/programs/food-rescue.Google Scholar
City Harvest. 2015 c. Food Council. [online] City Harvest. Available at Web site http://www.cityharvest.org/food-council.Google Scholar
City Harvest. 2015 d. About Us. [online] City Harvest. Available at Web site http://www.cityharvest.org/about.Google Scholar
Coleman-Jensen, A, Nord, M., Andrews, M., and Carlson, S. 2014. USDA Economic Research Service. Economic Research Report Number 141. United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC. Household food security in the United States in 2013.Google Scholar
Costello, C., Birisci, E., and McGarvey, R.G. 2016. Food waste in campus dining operations: Inventory of pre-and post-consumer mass by food category, and estimation of embodied greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 31(3):191201.Google Scholar
Daniels, A. and Narayanswamy, A. 2014. The Income Inequality Divide Hits Generosity. Available online at Web site https://www.philanthropy.com/article/The-Income-Inequality-Divide/152551.Google Scholar
Environmental Protection Agency. 2008. The Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion of Food Waste at Wastewater Treatment Facilities. [online] EPA. Available at Web site http://www.epa.gov/region9/organics/ad/Why-Anaerobic-Digestion.pdf.Google Scholar
Environmental Protection Agency. 2010 a. Overview of Greenhouse Gases. [online] EPA. Available at Web site http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.html.Google Scholar
Environmental Protection Agency. 2010 b. Turning Food Waste into Energy at the East Bay Municipal Utility District. [online] EPA. Available at Web site http://www.epa.gov/region9/waste/features/foodtoenergy/food-waste.html.Google Scholar
Environmental Protection Agency. 2014. A Guide to Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment. [online] EPA. Available at Web site http://www.epa.gov/foodrecovery/tools/pdfs/r5_fd_wste_guidebk_020615.pdf.Google Scholar
Environmental Protection Agency. 2016. Climate Change and Waste. [online] EPA. Available at Web site https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/climate-change-and-waste.Google Scholar
Feeding America. 2014 a. Hunger in America 2014. Available online at Web site http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/our-research/hunger-in-america/.Google Scholar
Feeding America. 2014 b. How We Fight Hunger. Available online at Web site http://www.feedingamerica.org/how-we-fight-hunger.Google Scholar
Ferdman, R. 2014. Americans Throw out More Food than Plastic, Paper, Medal, and Glass. Washington Post. Available online at Web site http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/23/americans-throw-out-more-food-than-plastic-paper-metal-or-glass/.Google Scholar
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2013. Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources: Summary Report. FAO. Available online at Web site http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3347e/i3347e.pdf.Google Scholar
Food Waste Network. 2017. Why Recycle Food Waste? Available online at Web site http://www.foodwastenetwork.org.uk/content.html?contentid=11.Google Scholar
Ford, E.S. 2013. Food security and cardiovascular disease risk among adults in the United States: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003–2008. Preventing Chronic Disease, 10.Google Scholar
Godfray, H.C.J., Beddington, J.R., Crute, I.R., Haddad, L., Lawrence, D., Muir, J.F., Pretty, J., Robinson, S., Thomas, S.M., and Toulmin, C. 2010. Food security: The challenge of feeding 9 billion people. Science 327(5967):812818.Google Scholar
Goldstein, N. 2017. Big Apple Goes Big on Organics Recycling. Available online at Web site https://www.biocycle.net/2017/01/12/big-apple-goes-big-organics-recycling/.Google Scholar
Grutzmacher, S. and Gross, S. 2011. Household food security and fruit and vegetable intake among low-income fourth-graders. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 43(6):455463.Google Scholar
Gucciardi, E., Vahabi, M., Norris, N., Del Monte, J.P., and Farnum, C. 2014. The intersection between food insecurity and diabetes: A review. Current Nutrition Reports 3(4):324332.Google Scholar
Gunders, D. 2012. Wasted: How America is losing up to 40 percent of its food from farm to fork to landfill. Natural Resources Defense Council, 1–26.Google Scholar
Hall, K.D., Guo, J., Dore, M., and Chow, C.C. 2009. The progressive increase of food waste in America and its environmental impact. PloS ONE 4(11):e7940.Google Scholar
Institute for Self-Reliance. 2016. Food Scrap Recovery Policies. Available online at Web site https://ilsr.org/rule/food-scrap-ban/.Google Scholar
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. 2014. New Leadership Roles at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Focus on Food System Change. Available online at Web site http://foodshuttle.org/2014/11/new-leadership-roles-inter-faith-food-shuttle-focus-food-system-change/.Google Scholar
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. 2015 a. History. Available online at Web site http://foodshuttle.org/about-us/history/.Google Scholar
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. 2015 b. What We Do. Available online at Web site http://foodshuttle.org/what-we-do/.Google Scholar
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. 2015 c. Culinary Job Training. Available online at Web site http://foodshuttle.org/we-teach/culinary-job-training/.Google Scholar
Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 2011. 2011 Iowa Statewide Waste Characterization Study. Available online at Web site http://www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/waste/wastecharacterization2011.pdf.Google Scholar
Kantner, D. 2015. Anaerobic Digestion's Role in Dealing with America's Food Waste. Available online at Web site http://www.waste360.com/anaerobic-digestion/anaerobic-digestions-role-dealing-americas-food-waste.Google Scholar
National Public Radio. 2014. Turning Food Waste into Fuel Takes Gumption and Trillions of Bacteria. Available online at Web site http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/03/11/287310897/turning-food-waste-into-fuel-takes-gumption-and-trillions-of-bacteria.Google Scholar
Ogden, C.L., Carroll, M.D., Kit, B.K., and Flegal, K.M. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011–2012. JAMA 2014 311(8):806814.Google Scholar
OpenEI. 2017. Clean Energy Roadmap. Available online at Web site http://my.cleanenergyroadmap.com/ViewRoadmapGoal/478.Google Scholar
Seattle Public Utilities. 2017. Food Waste Requirement Frequently Asked Questions. Available online at Web site http://www.seattle.gov/util/MyServices/FoodYard/HouseResidents/FoodWasteRequirements/FAQs/index.htm.Google Scholar
Second Helpings. 2013. Seven Million Meals. Available online at Web site http://www.secondhelpings.org/7-million-meals/.Google Scholar
Second Helpings. 2015. What We Do. Available online at Web site http://www.secondhelpings.org/what-we-do/Google Scholar
Thompson, E. 2015. Tossing out food in the trash? In Seattle, you'll be fined for that. Accessed on January 15, 2017. Available online at: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/01/26/381586856/tossing-out-food-in-the-trash-in-seattle-you-ll-be-fined-for-that.Google Scholar
United States Department of Agriculture. 2015. Food Security in the U.S. Available online at Web site http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/key-statistics-graphics.aspx.Google Scholar
United States Department of Agriculture. 2016 a. Definitions of Food Security. Available online at Web site https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/definitions-of-food-security.aspx.Google Scholar
United States Department of Agriculture. 2016 b. Irrigation and Water Use. Available online at Web site https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-practices-management/irrigation-water-use.aspx.Google Scholar
U.S. News and World Report 2011. The Ten Most Educated U.S. Cities. Available online at Web site http://www.usnews.com/news/best-cities/slideshows/the-10-most-educated-us-cities/8.Google Scholar
Voegele, E. 2015. N.Y. funds biotech accelerator, along with pellet and AD projects. Available online at Web site http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/12011/n-y-funds-biotech-accelerator-along-with-pellet-and-ad-projects.Google Scholar