Reducing Food Waste: Making the Biggest Impact

Since 2015, we’ve been on a mission to help end hunger. In California and beyond, we’ve already donated over 1.2 million meals through our one-for-one program—and we’re just getting started. In honor of World Food Day on October 16, we’re putting a spotlight on food insecurity all month long.


In the US alone, an estimated 130 billion pounds of food is lost to waste each year. Reducing the amount of food waste that reaches landfills undoubtedly will contribute to a healthier environment… but what if it also means we can feed more people at the same time?


While we all can pitch in at home to achieve the UN’s vision of a #ZeroHunger world by 2030, the biggest impact can be made by the large companies who lead industrial agriculture and food manufacturing in our country. With this in mind, the USDA launched Food Waste Challenge 2030 to get commercial food producers actively involved in changing the tide.


In concert with the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, which provides technical and logical assistance to divert waste from landfill, the Food Waste Challenge poses an important question to the food giants who flood our markets and dumpsters with excess while 1 in 8 Americans struggles with food insecurity: What are you doing to reduce the amount of food that goes unused?


Some of the most interesting ideas and pledges are these from the USDA’s current Food Waste Champions:


  • Designing a new egg crate that reduces transit damage to save over 39 million wasted eggs and 500,000 labor hours in 2015 (Walmart and Sam’s)
  • Implementing a new recycling program that turns used cooking oil and grease into biodiesel (Yum! Brands, the owner of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut)
  • Donating excess from every store and composting at over 70 stores to divert waste to energy recovery (Weis Markets)
  • Tracking consumption for data-driven purchasing (Whitsons Culinary Group)
  • Maintaining 100% of US factories being zero waste to landfill and creating new technology that reduces food residue left in empty product containers (Unilever)
  • Packaging e-commerce orders in compostable bags (Farmstead)
  • Installing in-facility composting (Blue Apron)
  • Promoting stem-to-root and snout-to-tail cooking techniques (Bon Appétit)


On the home front, the EPA and USDA make the following suggestions for reducing food waste:


  • Shop your refrigerator first. Cook or eat what you already have before buying more.
  • Plan your menu before shopping and stick to your shopping list.
  • Buying in bulk only saves money if you can you the food before it spoils.
  • Be creative. Experiment with using all of a food’s edible parts you don’t normally eat.
  • Freeze or preserve seasonal produce to extend its life.
  • Consider portion sizes at restaurants and take home leftovers.


If you are part of an organization that can have a bigger hand in reducing food waste, check out the USDA’s site on the topic. The Food Waste Challenge is open to schools (calling all PTA parents!) and companies, and the site includes tips on how to get started.


Author: April Carter Grant

April Carter GrantApril Carter Grant grew up in the rural Midwest and has worked as a creative in the advertising, gaming, travel and beauty industries. An avid walker and sometime runner, she lives in LA with a young son and spazzy dog.

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