In Support of Municipal Partnership to Reduce Food Waste by 50% by 2030 through the Adoption of Priority Actions to Reduce Food Waste

Adopted at the 84th Annual Meeting in 2016

  • WHEREAS, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently set an unprecedented goal to reduce domestic food loss and food waste by 50% by 2030, through a multi-stakeholder partnership including local governments; and

    WHEREAS, the United States spends an estimated $218 billion each year-1.3% of GDP-growing, processing, transporting and disposing of food that is never eaten, which impacts food security, water and resource conservation, economic development and climate change; and

    WHEREAS, food loss and waste is the single largest component of disposed U.S. municipal solid waste, costing municipalities collectively more than $1 billion each year and accounts for a significant portion of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions through both landfill methane emissions and upstream agricultural activities; and

    WHEREAS, recent research demonstrates that with current technology and policy, prevention and recovery are the most cost-effective strategies for reducing food waste, and that recycling is the most scalable; and

    WHEREAS, nearly half of U.S. states mandate the separate collection of yard and lawn debris in residences, creating an organics collection and transportation infrastructure that can be cost-effectively scaled and expanded into food waste collection and transportation; and

    WHEREAS, experts have projected that an $18 billion investment in 27 food waste reduction solutions could unlock $100 billion in societal economic value over the next decade, including 1.8 billion additional meals recovered annually, 1.6 trillion gallons of water conserved annually, $5.6 billion in increased annual spending power for American consumers, $2 billion in increased annual profit potential for U.S. businesses and the potential to create 15,000 new jobs,

    NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors supports a multi-stakeholder partnership approach to achieve the goal of a 50% reduction in food loss and waste by 2030, as set by the USDA and EPA; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopts a food waste reduction hierarchy that seeks to maximize economic, social and environmental benefits by pursuing the following waste reduction actions:
    • Prevent food waste from occurring by facilitating solutions such as the sale of cosmetically-imperfect produce, the use of waste tracking and analytics in food businesses and municipalities and widespread consumer education campaigns.
    • Recover edible food for redistribution through hunger relief organizations by standardizing food donation and safe handling regulations, coupled with donation liability education for businesses, to increase the volume of food donated by businesses while maintaining high standards of food safety.
    • Recycle food scraps as animal feed, compost and clean energy by reducing barriers to organics recycling facility permitting, facilitating the siting recycling facilities close to urban areas to reduce transportation costs, facilitating the source separation of food scraps, increasing access to financing for recycling processing facilities and developing end markets for recycled products through government procurement; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon federal and state governments to increase access to grants, loans, guarantees, tax incentives or other sources of financing that can facilitate the financing of organics and food waste recycling infrastructure; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the private sector to help address the investment needed for improved food waste recycling infrastructure; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon consumer-facing businesses to work with the federal government and other stakeholders to minimize food waste through increased consumer education and date labeling standardization; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,that the .S. Conference of Mayors encourages cities to facilitate the adoption of new food waste reduction innovations through pilot projects, public-private partnerships and municipal procurement preferences; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon a partnership between municipal health departments, large food businesses and the Food & Drug Administration to standardize the implementation of safe handling guidelines to protect the safety of recipients of food donations while encouraging an increase in the donation of food that is still safe to eat; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors encourages cities to consider additional societal benefits in assessing the funding or permitting of organics recycling or food recovery infrastructure, including job creation, water conservation, hunger alleviation, greenhouse gas reduction and soil health enhancement.


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