`EPA Plans to Tackle Food Waste in Effort to Reduce Carbon Emissions - Olive Oil Times

EPA Plans to Tackle Food Waste in Effort to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Jul. 1, 2021
Jasmina Nevada

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will make food waste reduc­tion a key com­po­nent of President Joe Biden’s efforts to reduce green­house gas emis­sions.

The agency’s announce­ment comes three months after the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) reported food waste is respon­si­ble for between eight and 10 per­cent of global green­house gas emis­sions.

By align­ing our goal with the (U.N.‘s) sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goal tar­get, the U.S. would be encour­ag­ing actions and invest­ment in the pre­ven­tion of food waste.- Claudia Fabiano, envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion spe­cial­ist, EPA

UNEP set out ways of col­lect­ing and ana­lyz­ing data to bet­ter under­stand the full extent of the issue and pro­posed mea­sures to tackle food waste in its report on the sub­ject.

Ultimately, UNEP wants to reduce food waste glob­ally by 50 per­cent before 2030 – a sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goal tar­get of the supra­na­tional orga­ni­za­tion.

See Also: Climate Change Is Altering the Nutrient Profiles of the World’s Crops

By align­ing our goal with the inter­na­tional sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goal tar­get, the U.S. would be encour­ag­ing actions and invest­ment in the pre­ven­tion of food waste and keep­ing food in the human sup­ply chain, instead of just focus­ing on divert­ing it from land­fills and incin­er­a­tors,” Claudia Fabiano, an envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion spe­cial­ist at the EPA, told a recent con­fer­ence in New York.

This would really drive more sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tions in green­house gas emis­sions,” she added.

According to Fabiano, the EPA has invested $3 mil­lion (€2.5 mil­lion) into anaer­o­bic diges­tion – a nat­ural process in which microor­gan­isms break down organic mat­ter – and plans to invest a fur­ther $2 mil­lion (€1.7 mil­lion) by next year.

However, she added that com­post­ing and anaer­o­bic diges­tion should be encour­aged for unpre­ventable food scraps; we want to focus on the pre­ven­tion aspects of it.”

To that end, the EPA will pub­lish a series of reports this sum­mer sum­ma­riz­ing the lat­est sci­en­tific find­ings on food waste.

This should help build the sci­en­tific basis for pol­i­cy­mak­ing and pri­vate sec­tor invest­ments,” Fabiano said, adding that the EPA plans to build on a food waste action plan pro­posed by four orga­ni­za­tions to the Biden admin­is­tra­tion and the U.S. Congress back in April.

The plan, which was co-authored by researchers from Harvard University, the Natural Resources Defense Council, ReFED and the World Wildlife Fund, said that up to 40 per­cent of food pro­duced in the U.S. is wasted, cost­ing the econ­omy an esti­mated $408 bil­lion (€344 bil­lion) each year.

The cre­ators of the action plan appealed to Congress and the Biden admin­is­tra­tion to pro­vide more fund­ing for local gov­ern­ments to cre­ate organic waste recy­cling infra­struc­ture, con­tinue to research the issue and imple­ment behav­ior change cam­paigns.

I think we’re also really hope­ful that we [the EPA] will be able to work on some of the impor­tant pri­or­i­ties that have been laid out in the food waste action plan that we’ve been talk­ing about today,” Fabiano con­cluded.





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