Recently, Feeding America has been asking a good question about this country, one that deserves a good answer: How can 48 million people face hunger when 70 billion pounds of food go to waste?
Now, at least a partial solution is in the works. In September, the United States Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency announced aggressive goals to cut food waste in the U.S. in half by 2030.
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey is already working on the problem. Our Retail Gleaning Program is an excellent example of saving wholesome and edible food and using it to feed hungry people in our communities. The FoodBank’s partnership with major wholesalers, retailers and supermarkets rescued 8.3 million pounds of food last year, using it for our child feeding programs and for distribution to our partner charities including soup kitchens, food pantries and senior programs. Most importantly, we were able to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables as well as dairy for those who face hunger in New Jersey.
It is heartening to see that the voluntary goals set by USDA are backed by the private sector, faith-based organizations and charitable institutions, many of whom have already started taking steps to save food. Reducing food loss by just 15 percent could feed more than 25 million Americans each year, and help protect the environment.
When food ends up in landfills, it becomes part of solid waste that leads to 16 percent of all methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Producing food also takes as much as 80 percent of all consumable water in the U.S. Reducing food waste can deliver the triple bottom line of reducing hunger, saving water and energy, and addressing climate change goals.
Almost half of the food that America produces is wasted and it is clear that this perfectly good food should be used to feed people and not landfills. CFBNJ is proud to be playing a part in the effort to cut down on food waste and provide healthy food for those who are hungry in our communities.
CFBNJ rescued 8.3 million pounds of food last year, a 36% increase from the previous year
Feeding America and its partners, including CFBNJ, rescued more than two billion pounds of food last year that would otherwise have gone to landfills
Find out more about food waste by going to Feeding America.
Written by: Meenu Mahajan, CFBNJ Grant Writer