A major challenge for anyone concerned about greenhouse gas emissions in America is to find ways to reduce not just fossil fuel energy consumption, but food waste as well. In addition to making up nearly 20 percent of all solid waste that finds its way into dumps, the garbage that collects there decomposes and produces methane, a potent climate changing gas. In response to this issue, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have partnered to launch the U.S. Food Waste Challenge.
The Food Waste Challenge is a program that aims to reduce the amount of food that ends up in the trash. Through activities and incentive programs aimed at producers, restaurants, schools and government agencies, the hope is that consumption practices will be rethought and designed to be more efficient and make better use of food resources.
The EPA states that 133 billion pounds of uneaten food from restaurants, stores and homes ended up in landfills in 2010. This amounts to roughly $390 worth of food per U.S. consumer.
"Not only could this food be going to folks who need it – we also have an opportunity to reduce the amount of food that ends up in America's landfills," Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a statement. "By joining together with EPA and businesses from around the country, we have an opportunity to better educate folks about the problem of food waste and begin to address this problem across the nation."
The EPA and USDA hope to gain 400 partner organizations by 2015.