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Support for the Zero Food Waste Act

Goal of reducing food waste by 50% by the year 2030

The purpose of this White Paper is to express Agtools’ support proposed food waste legislation - The Zero Food Waste Act. This is a significant legislative proposal for reducing food waste and methane greenhouse gas in the United States.

For a number of years, the United Nations has pointed out that almost one-third of all food produced worldwide is wasted before it is consumed. That astonishing figure has been steadily corroborated by ongoing research in recent years. Food waste is impacted by ever-changing market variables in international supply chains. As food insecurity increases throughout the world, food waste of this magnitude is totally unsustainable and unacceptable.

Agtools Is a leader in the specialty crop arena. Basically, we are talking about fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and florals produced worldwide. Agtools has developed the world’s largest database on specialty crops, covering over 500 commodities grown throughout the world spanning the past 29 years. The Agtools data analytics platform also covers 76 variables that affect agriculture success in the marketplace, including: production quantities, pricing per commodity, transportation costs, historical weather patterns, labor and supply chain issues affecting product delivery, and many other such variables.

Specialty crops are the most perishable foods grown throughout the world. Unlike grains - such as wheat, barley, and rice - specialty crops are extremely perishable. Whereas a cargo ship full of wheat can sit outside the Port of Los Angeles for weeks on end without grain spoilage, specialty crops caught up in supply chain backups degrade within a matter of days. They rapidly lose their consumer appeal and commercial marketability.

The Zero Food Waste Act is authored by House Representatives Julia Brownley (CA), Ann McLane Kuster (NH), Chellie Pingree (ME), as well as, Senator Cory Booker (NJ). The Act proposes a broad array of alternatives to redirect and better manage the massive amounts of food waste that goes into our landfills every year. The Act does so by providing support for building out the nation’s food waste management infrastructure. The Act would provide resources for state and local governments, and other stakeholders, to scale up waste prevention and recycling efforts with the goal of reducing food waste by 50% by the year 2030.

Whereas food waste on the international scale represents about 33% of all food grown (as reported by the United Nations), Representative Brownley reports that “Americans waste more than 40% of the food they purchase.” This equates to over $400 billion being spent in the United States on growing, processing, transporting, storing, retailing, and ultimately disposing of food that is never consumed. The American public is basically unaware of the magnitude of food waste in this country.

According to the Act’s sponsors, “Compounding the panorama of food that is never consumed, is the fact that most of the food waste ends up in municipal landfills.” Astonishingly, food waste is the largest component, by weight, of the waste that goes into the nation’s landfills. Landfills are now the third largest source of methane gas emissions in the United States. The American public is basically unaware of the magnitude of methane greenhouse gas emissions generated by food waste in landfills in the US.

“The massive amount of food waste in this country,” says Martha Montoya, Founder and CEO of Agtools, “is gradually beginning to sink into the national consciousness. It is astonishing to think that we not only waste monumental amounts of food, but that the waste ends up in landfills, generating methane gas, that further exacerbates climate change.”

“And, the scale is almost unimaginable,” adds Montoya. The Act’s sponsors point out that “food waste in our nation’s landfills is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire US airline industry.” Further illustrating the scale of the problem, Yvette Cabrera, Director of Food Waste at the Natural Resources Defense Council, says that food waste in our landfills is responsible for about the same amount of greenhouse gases “as is generated by 58 million cars per year.”

“The upshot of these combined factors,” concludes Montoya, “is that we not only squander tons and tons of perfectly good food each year but the waste, and the manner in which it is handled, have a significant adverse impact on our environment, and further exacerbates climate change. We hope that by publishing and widely disseminating this White Paper, we can contribute to the understanding of the depth of this issue on the part of legislators, government policy-makers, and many stakeholders in the food supply chain.”

Agtools is proud to support The Zero Food Waste Act, and its companion bill – The COMPOST Act – along with such notable supporters as: the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), the World Wildlife Fund, the Plant-Based Products Institute, the U.S. Green Building Council, the U.S. Composting Council, the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, the Corn Refiners Association, the National Restaurant Association, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the Food Industry Association, the Biodegradable Produces Institute, the Food Recovery Network, ReFED, and the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Council, the Carrier Corporation, Hilton, and Sodexo.

Martha Montoya

Founder and CEO Agtools, Inc.

Irvine, California

Stephen Denlinger

Agtools Policy Analyst

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