USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg announced the first-ever national food waste goal, calling for a 50-percent reduction in waste by 2030.
The announcement occurs just one week before world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to address sustainable development practices, including sustainable production and consumption.
"The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste," Vilsack said. "An average family of four leaves more than two million calories, worth nearly $1500, uneaten each year. Our new reduction goal demonstrates America's leadership on a global level in in getting wholesome food to people who need it, protecting our natural resources, cutting environmental pollution and promoting innovative approaches for reducing food loss and waste."
According to USDA, food loss in the US accounts for approximately 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds, of the overall food supply available to retailers and consumers. This waste is the single largest component of disposed US municipal solid waste and accounts for a significant portion of US methane emissions.
By reducing this loss by just 15 percent, experts say it would provide enough food for more than 25 million Americans each year.
"Let's feed people, not landfills. By reducing wasted food in landfills, we cut harmful methane emissions that fuel climate change, conserve our natural resources, and protect our planet for future generations" said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "Today's announcement presents a major environmental, social and public health opportunity for the U.S., and we're proud to be part of a national effort to reduce the food that goes into landfills."