EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are asking government agencies, producer groups, processors, manufacturers, and retailers to join the effort to reduce, recover, and recycle food waste.

Their goal is to have 400 partner organizations by 2015 and 1,000 by 2020.

USDA is initiating a wide range of activities to reduce waste in the school meals program, educate consumers about food waste and storage, and develop technologies to reduce food waste. The agency also will work with industry to:

Increase donations of imported produce that doesn’t meet quality standards

Streamline procedures for donating misbranded meat and poultry products

Update retail loss estimates

Pilot-test a meat-composting program to reduce the amount of meat being sent to landfills from food safety inspection labs.

Participants can access EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge data management software and technical assistance (www.epa.gov/smm/foodrecovery/) to quantify and improve sustainable food-management practices.

To learn about the activities of those who have already joined, visit: www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/index.htm.

Click here for an example of a successful diversion program from PUBLIC WORKS magazine.