Waste Dive recently reported that food waste reduction is a high priority for U.S. diners. According to research from Chefhero and goMkt, nearly half of all U.S. diners would be willing to pay more to eat at a restaurant with a food waste reduction program.
These changing consumer attitudes demonstrate an increasing awareness of the immense food waste issue in the United States. According to the USDA, between 30 and 40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste, either via landfill or incineration. This amounts to over 130 billion pounds of wasted food annually, costing businesses and individuals more than 160 billion dollars. Meanwhile, food waste reduction saves crucial space in landfills, reduces carbon impact, and offers significant benefits to society. Financially, businesses could generate two billion dollars per year in profits and cost savings by reducing food waste and diverting it from disposal. In fact, every one dollar invested in food waste diversion can save eight dollars in return. Surplus food can also be used to provide nutrition for the 42 million food insecure Americans. Fortunately, awareness has generated increasing support and opportunities for food waste reduction.
In Massachusetts, food waste from businesses that produce more than one ton per week is subject to a waste ban, which took effect in October 2014. As a result of this ban and supporting programs, capacity for processing and receiving food waste has grown dramatically. An estimated 2,300 commercial customers now contract with haulers for separate food waste collection, and donation and rescue of fresh and perishable foods is growing steadily.
If your business is looking for help with reducing wasted food, please contact us at RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts and we can help. RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts assists businesses and institutions in maximizing recycling, reuse, and food waste diversion opportunities. The following resources are designed to help restaurants comply with state waste bans:
RecyclingWorks provides direct technical assistance and additional guidance on strategies including source reduction, food donation, and source separation of food scraps for animal feed, composting, or anaerobic digestion. To learn more, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.