Blog Post

As reported by WasteToday, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) North American Initiative on Food Waste Reduction and Recovery released a new report which surveys the state of food loss and waste in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The report outlines the major environmental and economic impacts of food waste and identifies key causes and potential solutions for commercial, industrial, and government sectors.

The report reveals that approximately 168 million tons of food are wasted in North America on a yearly basis, and notable causes of this waste include overproduction, damaged product, the lack of a standardized date labeling system, strict food grading standards, and fluctuations in consumer demand. Food distributors, retailers, food service providers, and food rescue organizations all play an important role in creating and implementing wasted food solutions. According to the CEC, source reduction and food rescue efforts offer the greatest potential for reducing wasted food.

Source reduction involves reducing wasted food at the source, which can be achieved by improving inventory management, reducing portion sizes, utilizing imperfect produce, and enhancing food storage and transportation infrastructure. Collaboration between producers and retailers to standardize date labeling will also help to prevent confusion surrounding whether products are no longer safe and should be discarded.

The US EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy ranks food rescue as the second highest priority after source reduction. Strategies for increasing food rescue mentioned in the report include encouraging food donation by: enhancing financial incentives for food donation, expanding donation infrastructure and tracking, enhancing liability protection for donors, and creating online platforms to connect donors with recipients.

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts assists businesses and institutions with recycling, reuse and food waste diversion. RecyclingWorks offers guidance on source reduction and food donation. RecyclingWorks also partnered with the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic to create legal fact sheets on date labeling, liability protections, and tax incentives for food donation in Massachusetts. To speak to a recycling and waste diversion expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at