Diverting food waste through policy change
More than 900,000 tons of food waste goes into landfills in Massachusetts each year, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, causing significant environmental impact and squandering resources needed to alleviate hunger. Reducing food waste and diverting food that remains edible were both key recommendations of the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan, released in 2015 by the Massachusetts Food Policy Council.
Shortly after the plan’s completion, the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative brought together organizations involved in farming, food recovery, and food access to develop possible policy solutions to this issue. The group analyzed current bills under consideration in the Massachusetts legislature, along with laws and programs in other states, and developed a proposal for a comprehensive package that would address key issues identified in the plan. The group presented its proposal at the Massachusetts State House in July 2017, and the House filed legislation that addresses many of the issues raised in the proposal. The Collaborative has brought together a coalition of organizations to advocate for its passage.