Reprint of USEPA Press Release dated January 21, 2020
LAS VEGAS (Jan. 21, 2020) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the addition of six new U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions. These champions are U.S. businesses and organizations pledging to reduce food loss and waste in their own operations by 50 percent by the year 2030. New champions in 2019 and announced today include: Browns Superstores, Compass Group, Giant Eagle, Hello Fresh, Las Vegas Sands, and The Wendy’s Company.
“Food products make up 22 percent of municipal solid waste sent to our nation’s landfills annually and working with my partners at USDA, we are challenging American businesses and consumers to reduce food waste,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The commitments made by these organizations in joining the Champions program will help propel the U.S. one step closer towards meeting the national goal of reducing food waste and loss 50 percent by 2030.”
“Businesses across the country are stepping up to reduce food loss and waste,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We applaud the manufacturers, grocers, restaurants, and other businesses that have made a commitment to reduce food loss and waste in their operations, and we call on more businesses to become U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.”
“The elimination of food waste has been a critical component of our Sands ECO360 sustainability plan,” said Las Vegas Sands Senior Vice President of Global Sustainability Katarina Tesarova. “While this is definitely an environmental issue, it is also a social and economic issue. Not only does wasted food end up in the landfill, but there are other implications as well. For instance, we continue to focus on new ways to get excess unserved food to those in the community who are food insecure.”
The six new Champions join the list of existing 2030 Champions, which include: Ahold Delhaize, Aramark, Blue Apron, Bon Appetit, Campbells, ConAgra, Farmstead, General Mills, Hilton, Kellogg’s, Kroger, Marley Spoon, MGM Resorts, Mom’s Organic Market, Pepsico, Sodexo, Sprouts, Unilever, Walmart, Wegmans, Weis, Whitsons and Yum! Brands.
Cutting food waste in half by 2030 will take a sustained commitment from everyone. Success requires action from the entire food system including the food industry, and the U.S. 2030 Food Loss and Waste Champions group can help lead the way. Details on becoming a U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion can be found at www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste and www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food.
Businesses not in a position to make the 50 percent reduction commitment may be interested in participating in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge: https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-challenge-frc. State, local, tribal and territorial governments interested in making a commitment to food waste reduction can sign the Winning on Reducing Food Waste pledge.
Facts about food waste:
EPA estimates that more food (over 75 billion pounds) reaches landfills and combustion facilities than any other material in everyday trash, constituting 22% of discarded municipal solid waste. [Waste association stats are higher at 30%]
Landfills are the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States.
Ongoing Federal Efforts:
EPA has taken significant measures to highlight the need to reduce food waste nationally. In October 2018, EPA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and USDA signed a formal agreement to align efforts across the federal government to educate consumers, engage stakeholders, and develop and evaluate solutions to food loss and waste.
The agencies launched “Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month” in April 2019 with a Presidential Message from President Trump encouraging public action and participation from all sectors.
During the month of April 2019, Administrator Wheeler and leadership from USDA and FDA convened a summit at EPA bringing state and local stakeholders together to form partnerships with leading food waste reduction non-governmental organizations. At this event, over 30 governmental organizations signed onto a new pledge in which state, local, tribal and territorial government organizations solidified interest in working with the federal government to continue to build upon existing efforts back home to reduce food loss and waste. Also at the summit, EPA announced $110,000 in funding for food waste management and infrastructure projects (to expand anaerobic digestion capacity) in Wisconsin, Vermont, and Washington. EPA also opened a Small Business Innovation Research Grants program solicitation in 2019, which included “preventing food waste” as a topic.
SCS Engineers’ Associate Professional, Lindsey Carlson recently coordinated a cleanup on the Beaver Dam River in Wisconsin. The cleanup is a part of the mission of Living Lands and Waters to clean the nation’s major rivers and watersheds. The Adopt A River Mile program enables people to support the mission in their own communities. SCS Engineers joined other members of the SWANA Badger Chapter, the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin, and five members of the Beaver Dam community. SCS’s Adam Gorski and Phil Gearing are shown removing a tractor tire and other debris here.
Phil called the experience “a great time and very fulfilling.”
While getting wet and muddy, the team picked up trash and debris that filled one 5’x8’ utility trailer plus two pickup truck beds – that’s about 8 cubic yards for those not in the waste management industry 😉
The trash included a tractor tire; about seven car tires; an aluminum truck topper; an office chair; two bicycles (one still ridable); a motorcycle helmet; at least 15 feet of culvert piping; about 10 trash bags full of plastic bottles and other lightweight garbage; and quite a few other miscellaneous items.
Lindsey served as a volunteer on Living Lands and Waters’ barges during a week-long cleanup in Memphis in 2017, and “that’s how I came to know and become passionate about their cause,” she says.
Contact Living Lands and Waters to clean up your mile of river. Every mile makes a difference to help watershed conservation efforts in your community. Imagine the impact thousands of volunteers of all ages, willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty are making. Thank you!
Groundwater can be a replacement or a backup for the municipal water supply, as well as a budget saver and an insurance policy when water is scarce. Chuck Houser describes the environmentally friendly circumstances and conditions necessary to use groundwater as a way to reduce the strain on water resources; particularly in California and other water-scarce areas in the region.
By using groundwater, you are able to maintain your business the way you’d like, and you shrink your water consumption footprint in the overall water resources of the state. You are conserving by using water that is available only to you — the groundwater beneath your property.
Using groundwater is a privilege that may allow you to reduce water supply costs and better meet water conservation goals while reducing strain on an already stressed resource. With privilege comes responsibility — to use the resource appropriately and carefully.
Chuck Houser works in the earth science industry. He is a registered geologist, certified engineering geologist, and certified hydrogeologist. His expertise includes environmental site assessments, groundwater monitoring, fault and landslide investigations, groundwater resource studies, geological mapping, and geotechnical investigations. Chucks scientific knowledge of geology and experience in the earth science industry for SCS Engineers enable him to prepare useful hydrogeological research, accurate environmental assessments, and environmentally appropriate remediation approaches.
This article may be of interest to managers of large tracts of land such as golf courses, parks, and recreation centers under a mandatory water conservation order and are unsure whether a facility can meet the cutback requirements and still maintain the property.