Will you make food waste reduction a priority at your business?

Will you make food waste reduction a priority at your business?

Will you make food waste reduction a priority at your business?

The National Restaurant Association is encouraging operators to join the U.S. Food Waste Challenge and reduce food waste at their restaurants.

In collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the USDA is asking restaurants to promote their food-waste reduction efforts.

“We need help building momentum around reducing, recovering and recycling food waste,” said Elise Golan, the USDA’s director of sustainability. “We’re at a point in this country and in the world where we’re ready to take this on as an important issue. Not only is the restaurant industry’s participation in this program integral to its success, it’s also a great way for operators to let everyone know about the good work they do to reduce food waste and donate wholesome, unsold food.”

Laura Abshire, the NRA’s director of sustainability, said the Association is working to educate restaurateurs about food waste reduction and how they can help divert it from landfills.

“We want to encourage restaurants to think of better ways to manage food waste besides throwing it out.  By donating and recycling, restaurants can make a real change in their communities and save money.”

According to Golan, approximately 30 percent of the food supply at the retail level is wasted. In 2010, she said 133 billion pounds of food waste occurred, which is equivalent to $162 billion.

“The USDA decided to take this issue on for three strategic reasons. First, it is a food security issue. Second, it’s important to reduce the terrible strain this huge amount of food waste is putting on our resources. Third, food is the No. 1 component going into our landfills, and landfills are the third-largest source of methane gas in the country.”

Golan said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is a staunch supporter of the Challenge and has made its success a top priority.

Ted’s Montana Grill is one company participating in the Challenge. George McKerrow Jr., the 46-unit chain‘s co-founder and CEO, said signing up its Atlanta restaurants to take part was easy and the right thing to do.

“We think our industry needs to apply more focus to decreasing the amount of waste it produces and hope our participation in this initiative will encourage others to think about how much food they produce, how much of it is used and how much is thrown away,” he said.

In addition to Ted’s, all of McDonald’s restaurants in Hawaii have joined the Challenge.

Get more information on the U.S. Food Waste Challenge here. Visit the NRA’s Conserve program for sustainable tips, tools and best practices for the restaurant industry.

Content Courtesy of: National Restaurant Association





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