California has enforced a new law to mark the New Year that can make massive strides in fighting food waste in the United States. In fact, if it is effective enough, it might forever change the way the region tackles the issue of food waste.
Before the pandemic caused by the coronavirus, about 35 Million United States citizens faced food insecurity. Unfortunately, this number has gradually risen over the past few years, instead of dropping.
The Senate Bill 1383
One of the issues that the new California Law will tackle, known as the Senate Bill 1383, is the issue of food insecurity. It states that all food suppliers, including grocery stores, must donate all food waste that is still edible to a food bank or an organization that rescues food.
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As per a report by the Recycle Track Systems, the United States records the highest amount of food waste in the world. The monthly amount is estimated to be almost 40 Mn tons. The annual amount comes to 80 Bn pounds. This staggering number is about one-third of the entire food supply in the country. Sadly, the majority of this food waste is sent to rot away in landfills.
As such, a lot of food is thrown away by supermarkets and grocery stores because they are past their “sell-by” dates. However, the foodstuff may not have expired by then. This results in tons of perfectly edible food rotting away in dumpsters.
This law also goes hand-in-hand with one more California law that has been recently introduced. It requires residents of the state to dispose of food waste in green bins, along with any other organic compostable waste. Several municipalities in San Diego have already begun this program.
An Immensely Positive Reaction
A facility for Feeding San Diego handles several thousand pounds worth of food waste daily, as reported by KTNV Las Vegas. Patty O’Connor, the chief officer in charge of the supply chain at this organization, revealed how she was inspired by her father to do this work.
In her interview with KTNV, she talked about how her father would rescue food as much as he could on his own. He would do so by visiting the local grocery store twice every week early in the morning and picking up all the food that was leftover. Then he, along with a friend of his, would drive and donate it to a catholic charity in the locality. O’Connor considers the new California law to be “a win-win all around”.
John Votava, the corporate affairs director at Ralph’s grocery chain, stated that his company has been doing this work for over 4 years. He said that rescuing food made them feel validated more than anything.
+BOX is a non-profit program for food assistance whose HQ is in Carlsbad. In an interview with NBC 7 San Diego, +BOX’s executive director, Wesley Burt, explained that the new law will massively increase the supply. He added that there are people in San Diego who need it.
Greg McGuire, the Strategic Partnerships Director of +BOX also noted that keeping this food waste out of landfills is going to help in another way. It will reduce the greenhouse gasses that landfills generate.
The new California law is among several other laws in other states that aim to confront food waste. Some other cities and states include Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.