Wasted food is a major problem for our environment and represents a misuse of valuable resources. But the opportunity remains open for Washington to redirect food waste toward sustainable uses that fight climate change and build stronger, healthier communities. To meet this challenge, the Washington State Legislature passed the Food Waste Reduction Act in April 2019.
This law tasks us – along with the Washington departments of health, agriculture, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction – to write a food waste reduction plan. Through this plan, these state agencies and stakeholders 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 Environmental Protection Agency's Waste Reduction Model (WARM) estimates that hitting 50-percent 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.
Requirements of the Food Waste Reduction Act
As we write the Food Waste Reduction Plan we will be following these requirements.
- Recommend regulations that support safe food donations
- Stable funding for food waste reduction efforts and food waste management
- Technical support for organizations working in food waste recovery and prevention
- Help develop K–12 food waste reduction
- Facilitate safe food donations from restaurants and food markets
- Recommend best management practices for local governments to incorporate into their local solid waste management plans
The finalized plan is due to the Washington State Legislature by Oct. 1, 2020.
Check out our webpage about food waste stakeholder meetings to see how each area of the plan is shaping up.