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benefits of reducing food waste

Many people aren’t aware of the severity of food waste in the United States, with waste generation occurring at all levels of the supply chain. In total, 30-40% of the food supply in the United States is wasted, which amounts to about a pound of food wasted per person per day.

With such shocking food waste statistics, the U.S. has set a goal to cut food loss and waste in half by the year 2030. As an increasing number of food waste reduction strategies are implemented, it’s expected that companies and households will experience firsthand the benefits of reducing waste.

In this blog, we’ll explore the environmental, social, and economic benefits of reducing food waste, highlighting the importance of improving collaboration, leveraging advanced technology, and using innovative waste reduction strategies to reach national goals.

Key Takeaways

  • The environmental benefits of reducing food waste include reduced greenhouse gas emissions, conservation of resources, biodiversity preservation, reduced pollution, and enhanced soil health.
  • The economic benefits of reducing food waste include cost savings for households, increased profit margins for businesses, tax exemptions, and increased financial security for farmers.
  • The social benefits of reducing food waste include increased food security and greater community engagement, making it a critical component of increasing sustainability efforts.
  • Working with a waste management company helps businesses streamline waste disposal, leverage cost-effective solutions, ensure compliance, and enhance corporate responsibility.

Environmental Benefits of Reducing Food Waste

Food waste affects the environment in multiple ways, including the production of greenhouse gases, depletion of natural resources, and pollution. For that reason, the environmental benefits of reducing food waste are the top priority of sustainability efforts, offering long-lasting benefits that can be enjoyed by future generations.

benefits of food waste recycling
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Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions

When food waste decays under anaerobic conditions in landfills, it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Overall, an estimated 58 percent of the fugitive methane emissions from municipal solid waste landfills are from landfilled food waste. As food waste and climate change become increasingly growing concerns in the United States, new strategies must be explored to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable waste management practices.

Conservation of Resources

Wasting food not only wastes the food item itself but also all the resources required to produce it, including land, energy, labor, and water. On a global scale, food that is lost or wasted consumes about a quarter of all the water used by agriculture, showcasing significant inefficiencies in the supply chain. That said, one of the benefits of food waste management is its role in conserving these valuable resources, helping to reduce land degradation, lower energy consumption, conserve water, and offer cost savings.

Biodiversity Preservation

As discussed, food waste and overproduction result in the loss of valuable resources, contributing to deforestation, climate change, and pollution, all of which negatively impact biodiversity. That said, reducing food waste can lead to the preservation of ecosystems and species, offering broader ecological benefits such as combating climate change and promoting sustainable agriculture.

Reduced Pollution

Food waste is a large contributor to methane production, packaging waste, and water, air, and soil pollution, meaning that reducing waste also helps minimize these negative environmental effects. In addition, reducing excess production means that fewer chemicals are required during farming, therefore preventing soil degradation, reducing water contamination, and leading to healthier ecosystems.

Enhanced Soil Health

Composting food waste not only reduces landfill use but also enriches the soil with organic matter and nutrients, therefore improving soil structure, increasing its water retention capacity, and promoting healthy microbial activity. As a result, more fertile soil is produced, which can support better plant growth and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. Composting for businesses also helps improve profitability by potentially creating a new revenue stream and reducing waste disposal costs.

economic benefits of reducing food waste
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Economic Benefits of Reducing Food Waste

The economic impact of food waste must also be addressed, as food waste in the United States costs an estimated $218 billion or 1.3% of GDP, annually. Since these losses are experienced at all stages of the supply chain, there are multiple economic benefits of reducing food waste, as we’ll discuss below.

Cost Savings for Households

Each year, the average American family of four loses $1,500 to uneaten food. By reducing household food waste, families have the opportunity to save money annually and reduce their environmental footprint. There are many strategies that families can explore to reduce waste, such as meal planning, improving storage techniques, practicing portion control, avoiding bulk purchases, and using leftover ingredients to create new meals.

Increased Profit Margins for Businesses

One of the benefits of food waste reduction is its potential to increase profit margins for businesses. By improving efficiency and streamlining processes, companies can improve their inventory management, therefore reducing costs associated with the loss of food items, energy, land, and labor. In addition, companies may experience lower disposal costs, improved customer satisfaction, and new revenue streams, all of which offer economic benefits.

Tax Exemptions

Many wonder, is food waste tax deductible?

And the answer is yes! Tax deductions are used to encourage businesses to donate surplus food, therefore offering an additional financial incentive to reduce waste and support community needs. That said, businesses must comply with requirements to receive tax deductions, such as donating food to eligible organizations, ensuring that it’s used for charitable purposes, and complying with food quality standards.

Increased Financial Security for Farmers

In 2022, farming generated 14.9 million tons of surplus produce, of which more than 80% was left behind in the fields and never harvested. The large quantities of food wasted on farms lead to large financial losses, meaning that better resource management and market access for surplus produce can lead to increased profitability and reduced economic risks for farmers.

Social Benefits of Reducing Food Waste

The social benefits of reducing food waste are also important in the fight against this growing issue. As we’ll see below, minimizing waste helps reduce food insecurity and increase community engagement, making it a critical component of increasing sustainability efforts.

Food Security and Hunger Reduction

44 million people in the United States are food insecure, affecting 100% of U.S. counties across the nation. When businesses and individuals commit to improving resource utilization and supporting donation efforts, they help increase food security and reduce hunger in the U.S., making food donation efforts a high priority. To streamline processes, food recovery programs collect surplus food and distribute it to those in need, showcasing the importance of collaboration in food reduction efforts.

Community Building and Engagement

Food waste reduction initiatives foster a sense of community, encourage local engagement, and increase awareness. This is because many community projects, such as local composting programs and food sharing networks, bring people together to work towards a common goal. As a result, communities experience increased cooperation, have access to local support networks, and promote sustainability practices.

benefits of recycling food waste
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How to Reduce Food Waste?

Since food waste is a multifaceted issue that requires tailored solutions, there are multiple strategies to reduce food waste that businesses and individuals can explore. To better understand how food waste reduction efforts can be applied in different areas, we’ve broken down the list into three categories:

  • Households: Households can reduce food waste by improving storage techniques, educating themselves on food labels, practicing portion control, upcycling ingredients, and using apps to streamline meal planning, food sharing, and tracking expiration dates.
  • Businesses: Businesses can reduce large-scale waste by improving inventory management, training employees on best handling practices, implementing food waste tracking software, getting involved in food donation programs, adopting food waste technology, improving harvesting techniques, and enhancing storage and transportation infrastructure.
  • Government: Governments play a critical role in reducing national food waste, with the potential to implement policies, provide education, and foster collaborations among various stakeholders. This includes offering tax incentives, creating food donation laws, launching public awareness campaigns, and allocating funds for research and improved infrastructure for businesses.

Benefits of Food Waste Management

Businesses that want to receive the benefits of food waste recycling should partner with a food waste management company for optimal results. Keep reading to learn how organic waste management companies help streamline waste disposal, create cost-effective solutions, help businesses comply with regulations, and enhance corporate responsibility.

Streamlined Waste Disposal

One of the advantages of working with a food waste management company is that they help you manage waste without interrupting your everyday operations. By providing systematic and efficient methods for collecting and processing food waste, they simplify and streamline waste disposal processes, therefore reducing the burden on individual businesses.

Cost-Effective Solutions

Waste management services offer scalable solutions that provide various economic benefits to businesses. By outsourcing waste management, businesses save on labor, equipment, and maintenance costs associated with internal systems. Even more, sustainable waste management services can reduce disposal costs, produce a new revenue stream, and help businesses maintain compliance to prevent fines and take advantage of tax benefits.

Compliance and Regulation

Food waste management companies help businesses stay compliant with federal and local waste disposal regulations. Since laws vary depending on location, being up to date with changing regulations assures that businesses stay compliant and avoid fines and penalties, making it a key benefit to reducing food waste with the assistance of an experienced waste management partner.

Enhanced Corporate Responsibility

Businesses that have corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs demonstrate their commitment to sustainable waste management practices, therefore improving their public image and strengthening customer loyalty. By partnering with a waste management company, businesses can achieve their CSR objectives more effectively, ensuring they stay on track with their sustainability goals.

The Bottom Line

Having an external partner for food waste management helps companies reduce their environmental footprint, enjoy cost savings, and create a healthier world for future generations.

At Shapiro, we provide commercial food waste management services that include the collection, transportation, treatment, and recycling of all organic materials. If you’re ready to experience the benefits of reducing food waste, contact us today.

Baily Ramsey, an accomplished marketing specialist, brings a unique blend of anthropological insight and marketing finesse to the digital landscape. Specializing in educational content creation, she creates content for various industries, with a particular interest in environmental initiatives.

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