Food is a valuable resource, and has social, environmental, and economic value. Edible and inedible food reaches landfills more than any other single material. With one in six Washingtonians being food insecure, it is important to prevent and reduce food waste in the first place.
In April 2019, the Washington Legislature passed the Food Waste Reduction Act. This law tasks us — along with the Washington departments of Health, Agriculture, and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction — to write a food waste prevention plan.
This plan will recommend actions to achieve a 50% reduction in food waste in Washington by 2030. We will use 2015 waste disposal figures as the baseline for this goal.
The now titled Use Food Well Washington Plan includes recommendations within the action strategies of prevention, rescue, and recovery. Each recommendation supports the statewide goal and helps identify a pathway to a more resiliant food system.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Waste Reduction Model (WARM) estimates that hitting 50% food reduction would:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
- This equates to nearly 345,000 passenger vehicles taken off Washington's roads and more than 184,000 gallons of gas that's never burned.