National Movement to Reduce Food Waste

The United States’ federal government has set a new goal to reduce food waste in the U.S. by 50 percent over the next 15 years.

This call to action, led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is targeted not only at government and community groups, but also strives to engage businesses and large organizations. Because Northstar helps businesses across the nation reduce waste to landfill (including food waste), we thought this news might be relevant for some of our clients. Here is an overview of opportunities for food manufacturers, processors, and distributors to get involved:

  • Join the U.S. EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) – Part of the EPA’s Sustainable Material’s Management Program, the FRC encourages member organizations to pledge to increase their sustainable food management practices and report their results. It highlights the Food Recovery Hierarchy as a guide for preventing and diverting food waste.
  • Join the USDA’s U.S. Food Waste Challenge – Very similar to the EPA’s challenge, the USDA has announced a less formal program that encourages companies to announce the actions and objectives they will undertake to reduce, recover, and recycle food waste.

For companies interested in learning more about how Northstar can help divert food waste from landfills, here are some of the main outlets we use when recovering food waste:

  • Animal Feed – By this, we don’t mean the kind of food you buy your cat or dog at the pet store. Instead, some non-hazardous organic waste, with appropriate amounts of specific nutrients, can be used by certain types of animal farms or feed producers for livestock. Animal feed is usually going to be the most profitable outlet for organic waste.
  • Composting – This is a broad term used to define many methods of breaking down organic matter to be used as fertilizer. While any organic waste is biodegradable, certain composting methods prove more efficient for different organic waste types.
  • Anaerobic Digestion – This process involves using anaerobic microbes (those that exist and grow in environments without oxygen) to transform organic waste into energy. During the anaerobic digestion process, the microbes naturally produce energy from the heat and gas byproducts of their decomposition.
  • Rendering – This process is used specifically for turning waste animal tissue into valuable materials. The byproducts of rendering can be used to make items such as soap, biodiesel, animal feed, feedstock for the chemical industry, and more.

As with all organic waste, there are some key factors which need to be considered prior to selecting an outlet. These include things like nutrient content, moisture level, potential pathogens, potential meat ingredients, energy value, packaging, and transportation requirements. To learn more about the best options for diverting your company’s food waste from the landfill, contact us today.