In April 2019, the Washington Legislature passed the Food Waste Reduction Act. This law tasks us to write a food waste prevention plan, to determine 2015 baseline data figures, and annually measure progress towards the food waste reduction goals.
What is the Use Food Well Washington Plan?
Food waste is one of the greatest challenges of our time, with significant social, environmental, and economic impacts.
More than one million tons of food waste are generated annually in Washington, with a large portion (about 35 percent) of this food waste being edible food going into the landfill. To address food waste and wasted food in Washington, the Legislature passed ESHB 1114 in 2019, now codified as 70A.205.715 RCW.
The law established a statewide food waste reduction goal, relative to 2015 levels, and required a subset of the goal to focus on reducing the amount of edible food that is wasted. We're required to establish baseline data and annually track progress toward the statewide food waste reduction goals.
We were also tasked to develop and implement a food waste reduction plan, now titled the Use Food Well Washington Plan (UFWW Plan), that focuses on three key strategies:
- Prevention: Prevent and reduce the amount of food that is wasted.
- Rescue: Rescue edible food that would otherwise be wasted and ensure the food reaches those who need it.
- Recovery: Support productive uses of inedible food materials, including using it for animal feed, energy production through anaerobic digestion, and for off-site or on-site management systems including composting, vermicomposting, or other biological systems.
To draft the plan and identify ways to reduce food waste in our state, we consulted with the Washington state departments of Agriculture (WSDA), Health, (DOH), Commerce (COM), Office of Superintendent Public Instruction (OSPI), and over 150 subject matter experts (SMEs). We also conducted research and literature reviews to support the recommendations in the plan. A total of 30 recommendations to reduce food waste were identified through the collaborative engagement process.
Where are we at in the planning process?
We are currently conducting an economic analysis of the 30 recommendations, with the goal of reaching public comment for the UFWW Plan in the summer of 2021.
The UFWW Plan and legislative report will be completed and delivered by the end of 2021.