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Sustainable Management of Food

United States 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal

EPA estimated that in 2015 in the United States, more food reached landfills and combustion facilities than any other single material in our everyday trash, at 22 percent of the amount landfilled and at 22 percent of the amount combusted with energy recovery. Reducing food waste will help the United States address climate change, as 20 percent of total U.S. methane emissions come from landfills. By keeping wholesome and nutritious food in our communities and out of our landfills, we can help address the 42 million Americans that live in food insecure households.

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U.S. 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal

On September 16, 2015, in alignment with Target 12.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Exit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and EPA announced the first ever domestic goal to reduce food loss and waste by half by the year 2030. By taking action on the U.S. 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction goal (2030 FLW reduction goal), the United States can help feed the hungry, save money for families and businesses and protect the environment. Led by USDA and EPA, the federal government is seeking to work with communities, organizations and businesses along with our partners in state, tribal and local government to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent over the next 15 years.

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Measuring the Success of the Goal

To measure and describe progress against the goal, the following two different, but equally important, baselines were chosen for the 2030 FLW reduction goal:

  • For food waste in the United States, EPA’s “Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures” provides an estimate of the amount of food going to landfills and combustion with energy recovery from residences, commercial establishments (e.g. grocery stores and restaurants), and institutional sources (e.g. school cafeterias). Preconsumer food generated during the manufacturing and packaging of food products is not included in EPA's food waste estimates. Using the available data, 2010 was selected as a baseline at 218.9 pounds of food waste per person sent to landfills and combustion with energy recovery. The 2030 FLW reduction goal aims to reduce food waste going to landfills and combustion with energy recovery by 50 percent to 109.4 pounds per person.
  • For food loss in the United States, USDA’s Economic Research Service has estimated the amount of available food supply that went uneaten at the retail and consumer levels. In the baseline year of 2010, food loss was 31 percent of the food supply, equaling 133 billion pounds and an estimated value of $161.6 billion. The 2030 FLW reduction goal aims to cut food loss at the retail and consumer level in half, by approximately 66 billion pounds.

Over the next 15 years, we hope to see 50 percent reductions in both baseline measurements.

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How Does EPA Plan to Take Action on the Goal?

Working with USDA and partners in the states and tribes, EPA plans to secure action on the 2030 FLW reduction goal by working with leaders in the food system (e.g., private, government, nonprofit, academia, faith) to promote action and bring more successful interventions and tools to advance the sustainable management of food.

EPA launched a Call to Action by Stakeholders page, which identifies current opportunities and challenges in reducing food loss and waste in the United States. EPA will continue to help facilitate discussion by co-hosting summits where leaders in various sectors can exchange ideas and identify needed actions, provide leadership and technical assistance, conduct outreach and share information, develop new tools, and celebrate the successes of stakeholders. 

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How Can You Take Action?

Everyone can take action to reduce food loss and waste in the United States, whether you are an individual, a business, a school, or a non-profit, community or faith-based organization.

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