Lawler Introduces Bill to Reduce Food Waste
by Rockland Daily Staff
U.S. Representatives Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced legislation to help reduce food waste.
The bipartisan New Opportunities for Technological Innovation, Mitigation, and Education to Overcome Waste Act, or the No Time to Waste Act, will support research and new technologies, bolster collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and regional waste prevention and food recovery organizations, strengthen the federal government's approach to food waste, and build initiatives that work towards the goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030.
"Each year, around 40 percent of all food produced in the United States is lost or wasted despite the fact that more than 34 million Americans, including 9 million children, go hungry. When it comes to combating hunger, there is no time to waste," says Congressman Lawler. "This bill is an important step to eliminating food waste and hunger, goals that we all share, regardless of politics."
The No Time to Waste Act would establish an Office of Food Loss and Waste in the USDA to enhance the work of the current USDA Food Loss and Waste Reduction Liaison.
"It's estimated that 30-40 percent of the entire United States food supply is discarded every year. This is bad for the environment, extremely costly, and is a lost opportunity to help feed the millions of Americans who are food insecure," says Congresswoman Pingree. "The No Time to Waste Act would strengthen the federal government's approach to food loss by tackling waste in every step of our food system—from prevention research and education to composting and donation programs."
If passed, the act would work to establish a Food Recovery and Distribution Infrastructure Support and Coordination Block Grant Program. The program would award annual block grants to carry out projects to develop and support food recovery infrastructure and innovative food distribution models.
Other No Time to Waste Act components include supporting composting and food waste reduction projects by extending and expanding grant eligibility through the Community Composting and Food Waste Reduction program. The act would promote partnerships committed to reducing food loss and food waste. It would create a public awareness campaign focused on how much food goes to waste in households across the U.S. and educate the public regarding methods for preserving and storing foods while providing tips to identify whether food is still safe to consume and more.
Congressman Lawler's office shared with Rockland Daily that the No Time to Waste Act will still have to pass through several committees before it goes to vote, with no estimate of how long the process might take.