Let's Talk Trash - USDA

How is USDA making a difference?

USDA has joined with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to achieve an ambitious national goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50% by 2030. Meeting reduction goals will include a range of public and private efforts. Current USDA and EPA initiatives include:

Food Loss and Waste

In the United States, over one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste. USDA is uniquely positioned to help address the problem of food loss and waste through its programs, policies, and guidance.

  • Farmers use many ways to help reduce this waste and feed people, such as on-farm storage, value-added products, secondary markets, donations, and feeding animals.
  • Businesses that are helping to lead U.S. efforts to reduce food loss and waste can be recognized as U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.
  • Consumers lose, on average, $1,500 per family of four per year to uneaten food. USDA offers a range of advice to help Americans reduce food waste.
  • Schools have a special role in not only reducing, recovering, and recycling food waste on their premises but also in educating the next generation about the importance of food conservation.

Food Recovery Challenge

  • Participants and endorsers include grocers, educational institutions, restaurants, faith-based organizations, and hospitality businesses.
  • Organizations that pledge to participate work to prevent and divert wasted food in their operations.

Additional USDA projects 

How does USDA define food loss and waste?

USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) defines food loss, which includes food waste, as the edible amount of food, postharvest, that is available for human consumption but is not consumed for any reason. For example, it includes cooking loss and natural shrinkage; loss from mold, pests, or inadequate climate control.

Why are food loss and waste important, and what can you do?