Looking Back, Then Ahead

2014 has been a banner year for fighting food waste. There many successes to celebrate, including those on the policy level: Massachusetts’ ban on commercial food waste to landfills went into effect on October 1, The Milan Protocol included a goal of 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2020, and the USDA streamlined procedures for donating mislabeled meat products.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack seems genuinely interested in doing something on the food waste issue. He was quoted in The New York Times thusly:

“I’ve become very sensitized to this because my wife is a relatively small person and I’m a relatively big guy,” Mr. Vilsack said. “She gets the same portion size as I do when we go to a restaurant, and sometimes we take it home but often we don’t because it’s really not the kind of food you can take home.”

Happily, the food waste social campaigns kept building momentum. Who can forget the Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables campaign from French supermarket chain Intermarché? And EPA’s Food Too Good To Waste is finally surpassing pilot project status.

Finally, 2014 saw many, many gatherings: from the first two Feeding the 5,000 events in the U.S to the Zero Food Waste Forum to the first academic gathering entirely focused on food waste at UPenn. 

Where do we go from here? We won’t have to wait long for the first changes to take effect. Seattle and Vancouver have waste bans going into effect January 1 (although enforcement won’t be until July in Seattle). And look for more states to declare bans on food waste to landfills. As for other changes, we’ll just have to wait and see. Food Waste World is always full of surprises!

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