Sometime last month you probably threw away the bananas. Maybe it was too ripe. Or maybe your child didn’t like what he was eating with uneven brown skin. You probably didn’t think much about throwing it. But after all, Americans throw away 5 billion bananas each year and even more food. In 2019, 35% of the total US food supply (about 80 million tonnes of food) was unsold or inedible. In California, No more than 14 million tonnes of food have been consumed.
This has increased by almost 12% in the United States since 2010, but has leveled off in recent years. This means that we are far from achieving our goals in the United States. Global institution Set to Cut food waste in half By 2030. Wasted food has a huge impact on the environment and economy. It accounts for about 4% of greenhouse gas emissions 2% of US GDP..
Think of it this way: we’re almost throwing out 125 billion meals a year An estimated 45 million Americans are having a hard time putting food on the table.
I have good news. The Biden administration has put climate change at the center of its agenda, and ending food waste is the best solution to tackle this global crisis.Last month, a national non-profit organization ReFEDCompleted and identified the type and cause of food waste, which I am the Executive Director Over 40 solutions To help the United States meet its 2030 goal of reducing food waste by 50%.
Along Our calculationBy investing $ 14 billion annually over the next 10 years, 45 million tons It reduces food waste each year and brings annual economic benefits of $ 73 billion. This is a 5 to 1 profit. This is equivalent to a reduction of 75 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. This is equivalent to removing 16 million cars from the road each year.
Food is wasted throughout the supply chain, on farms, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, and in our homes. In the first place, we need to prioritize solutions that prevent food waste.
One example is demand planning software developed in 2017. This helps retailers predict what they will sell. A typical American grocery store 50,000 products.. Until recently, the only way to know how many bananas would sell in a week was to make informed guesses. Today, technology can combine sales data and forecasts with amazing accuracy to find out how many bananas will be sold on a rainy Monday in Los Angeles and adjust orders accordingly.
According to our analysis, the annual investment of $ 275 million in these technologies is made primarily in-house by companies that own grocery stores, saving more than $ 5 billion in the same store. There is a possibility that 1.25 million tons of food waste can be diverted from landfills. Country.
Restaurants can almost double the impact by reducing the portion size. Eliminating the buckets of Flintstonian steak and Fettuccine Alfredo will do more than soften our expanding waistline. With low food costs and slightly higher prices for small quantities, restaurants can save over $ 550 million annually by reducing the size of potions, and consumers can save as low as $ 8 billion. Saved food avoids the equivalent of 11.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.
Providing a reasonable part can be an uncertain outlook for the industry. If the restaurant makes that part smaller, the customer may go to another location.But according to National Restaurant Asun.Due to the pandemic, more than 110,000 restaurants have closed since March 2020. That’s 17% of US eateries. The surviving restaurants are already trying things they’ve never thought of, such as a winter yurt meal. Now they have the opportunity to reshape their business in a way that benefits the planet and their bottom line.
Some solutions, such as building a composting infrastructure, do not offer the exact same return on investment, but they are still important. After all, no matter how good you are at ensuring that all bananas are eaten, the skin will always remain. Composting allows the nutrients of food waste to be recycled, avoids the production of dangerous methane, and over time leads to healthier soils that sequester carbon and retain water.
This is where the federal government comes in. Funding for composting and other food waste reduction programs is the only and most effective way to reduce gross tonnage of food waste, according to ReFED calculations. According to our analysis, this would cost $ 13 billion over 10 years. This infrastructure requires a large amount of upfront investment and low returns, so this is a type of long-term investment that can only be made by the federal government and fits perfectly with the infrastructure and climate change mitigation policies promised by the Biden administration. To do. champion.
There are also more affordable opportunities. Governments can provide incentives to retailers who are effectively adopting preventative technologies such as forecasting software. This is a move that has the potential to reduce food waste and drive innovation.
A national consumer education program-think Smokey Bear, but for food waste-will cost $ 100 million. Households make up 38% of food waste, higher than any other sector, and behavior-changing campaigns have proven to work.Food waste in west London 14% in just 6 months During the 2013 Love Food, Hate Waste initiative, the group expanded its program as follows: 10 additional cities..
Food waste reduction is an opportunity for the Biden administration to tackle climate change in an effective and politically compelling way. There is a roadmap. Now all they have to do is obey it.
Dana Gunders is the Secretary-General of ReFED, a non-profit organization working to eradicate food waste in the United States.
This story was originally Los Angeles Times..