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Zero Food Waste Coalition

Sun Oct 01 2023

Zero Food Waste Coalition Endorses NO TIME TO Waste Act, Urges Legislative Solutions for Food Waste

WASHINGTON (September 21, 2023) – Members of Congress today introduced the NO TIME TO Waste Act to address the issue of food loss and waste in the United States through a variety of measures. With the United States’ pledge to halve food loss and waste by 2030 quickly approaching, the Zero Food Waste Coalition enthusiastically endorses this legislation as integral to implementing nationwide solutions to food loss and waste.

The New Opportunities for Technological Innovation, Mitigation, and Education To Overcome Waste Act (NO TIME TO Waste Act) emphasizes increased administrative coordination, expanded food loss and waste research and technology development, and scaled support of state and local food loss and waste policy solutions. It was introduced by Senators Coons (D – DE) and Moran (R – KS), along with Representatives Pingree (D – ME), and Lawler (R – NY), acknowledging the critical role that policy must play to address the soaring rate at which food produced in the United States is wasted – about 38% – and its impact on people, the planet, and the economy.

The Zero Food Waste Coalition is a group of over 100 organizations dedicated to supporting food loss and waste policy solutions, led by the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and ReFED. The Act calls for innovative food loss and waste solutions in line with the priorities that the Zero Food Waste Coalition previously identified as key to combatting food loss and waste.

The Zero Food Waste Coalition made the following statement about the legislation: “The NO TIME TO Waste Act recognizes the need for responsible food loss and waste policy in order to respond to the climate and hunger crises in the United States. We are excited to support this bill and we thank Senators Coons and Moran and Representatives Pingree and Lawler on their stewardship of innovative food loss and waste federal policy. This bill takes meaningful steps toward a future with a sustainable and resilient food system by supporting better coordination amongst government agencies, infrastructure to reduce food waste and boost food recovery, and consumer education and awareness campaigns.”

One of the primary goals of the NO TIME TO Waste Act is to increase coordination among various levels of government on the issue of food loss and waste. The bill would establish, for example, an Office of Food Loss and Waste that would support the existing Food Loss and Waste Reduction Liaison in spearheading government action.

“Food waste and hunger harms more than 34 million Americans and disproportionately impacts rural communities in Delaware and across our nation,” said Senator Coons. “My bipartisan NO TIME TO Waste Act strengthens collaborative efforts between federal agencies, supports public-private partnerships, and raises public awareness about the impact of food loss. By addressing food loss and waste, we can improve children’s health, fight malnutrition, and even protect our environment without putting more strain on family farms across the country.”

As the primary regulators of municipal solid waste, state policy makers and regulators are at the vanguard of the movement to prevent food waste from going to landfill where it generates harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The bill would support these leaders by creating a grant program to collect data on state and local food waste policies and by expanding eligibility for existing certain food waste funding to include State and Tribal governments as well as public-private partnerships.

The bill also includes other impactful solutions such as authorizing a food waste education and public awareness campaign, supporting innovative research and technology development of upcycled food solutions, and creating regional coordinators at the USDA to connect food businesses with food recovery organizations.

The Zero Food Waste Coalition calls on Congress to follow Senators Coons and Moran and Representatives Pingree and Lawler’s leadership by passing the Act or including its provisions in the 2023 Farm Bill. This bipartisan legislation would take the United States one step closer toward meeting its goal to halve food loss and waste by 2030.

The Zero Food Waste Coalition aims to inform and influence policy at the local, state, and federal levels, and share policy updates and opportunities with partners and stakeholders around the country to bring consumers, businesses, and government together to make food loss and waste history. The Coalition was launched by NRDC, WWF, ReFED, and FLPC in April 2023, formalizing a partnership that began in January 2020.

The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) serves partner organizations and communities by providing guidance on cutting-edge food system issues, while engaging law students in the practice of food law and policy. FLPC’s work focuses on increasing access to healthy foods, supporting sustainable production and regional food systems, promoting community-led food system change, and reducing waste of healthy, wholesome food. FLPC is committed to advancing a cross-sector, multi-disciplinary and inclusive approach to its work, building partnerships with academic institutions, government agencies, private sector actors, and civil society with expertise in public health, the environment, and the economy. For more information, visit chlpi.org/flpc and follow us on twitter at @HarvardFLPC.

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

ReFED is working to end food loss and waste across the food system by advancing data-driven solutions. As a nonprofit, we leverage data and insights to highlight supply chain inefficiencies and economic opportunities; mobilize and connect supporters to take targeted action; and catalyze capital to spur innovation and scale high-impact initiatives. Our goal is a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system that optimizes environmental resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow. To learn more about solutions to reduce food waste, please visit www.refed.org.

WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in nearly 100 countries for over half a century to help people and nature thrive. With the support of more than 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat the climate crisis. Visit https://www.worldwildlife.org to learn more and keep up with the latest conservation news by following @WWFNews on Twitter and signing up for our newsletter and news alerts here.

Kyra Sanborn, ksanborn@law.harvard.edu
Susan McCarthy, susan.mccarthy@wwfus.org
Josh Mogerman, jmogerman@nrdc.org