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EPA-backed Toolkit Reduces Household Food Waste by 25 Percent

Nonprofits want to raise awareness about an EPA-backed toolkit that helps families dramatically reduce food waste and expenditures.


Many Americans made resolutions to eat healthier this year. But, there’s a crucial part of their diet they may be overlooking – how much food they throw away.


Americans waste up to 40 percent of their food, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA teamed up with local and state governments to create a toolkit that reduces food waste. Now, a nonprofit wants to turn that pilot program into a nationwide campaign.


In 2011, more than 36 million tons of food entered U.S. landfills – making it the largest single source of waste. Wasted food also cost every American consumer more than an average month’s food expenses – about $390 – in 2008. Meanwhile, one in six Americans doesn’t have a secure source of food.


Additionally, each unused piece of food negates the energy and water that went into producing it. Wasted food guzzles “25 percent of all fresh water and huge amounts of unnecessary chemicals, energy, and land,” according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.


“Addressing this issue not only helps with combating hunger and saving money, but also with combating climate change,” Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said in a press release.


The EPA launched the Food: Too Good To Waste toolkit in 2012. The kit lists strategies that help communities fight food waste.


Participants start by measuring how much food they throw out. Other steps include creating shopping lists based on what meals a family will eat that week, and reorganizing fridges so food that spoils quickly can be easily spotted and used.


Several communities have participated in the pilot program. The kit reduced food waste by 25 percent.


Dana Frasz, head of food advocacy nonprofit Food Shift, was part of the team that created the kit.  Her organization started a petition to encourage the EPA to approve the kit by Earth Day – April 22, 2014. This would allow a variety of organizations to launch a coordinated, national campaign to raise awareness of the toolkit.


“If the EPA administrators approve the toolkit, it will be more accessible and more readily available to communities,” said Andrea Doral, who works on Food Shift’s social media, in an email. “It will provide them with the necessary information and tools they need to significantly reduce food waste in their homes.”


What You Can Do:

  • Sign the petition to approve the toolkit
  • Read about ways you can reduce food waste
  • Pledge to reduce food waste
  • Check out the toolkit
  • Watch and Share these videos made by a community that tried the program: