The USDA Economic Research Services estimates that 133 billion pounds of food at the retail and consumer level in the United States goes uneaten every year. The accumulated total value of that loss and waste from three main food groups consists of $48 billion worth of poultry, meat, and fish, $30 billion of vegetables, and $27 billion in dairy products.
The U.S. EPA recently announced a new version of a mapping tool designed to assist in the reduction of food waste by displaying facility-specific information about potential generators and recipients of excess food.
According to the U.S. EPA, the Excess Food Opportunities Map serves as an online “matching” service, linking, for example, owners of anaerobic digestion facilities with people looking to dispose of organic waste, including excess food. These anaerobic digestion facilities control organic decomposition in an oxygen-free, sealed tank to produce bioproducts and biosolids for on-site use or sale.
The updated interactive map identifies and displays facility-specific information about potential generators and recipients of excess food. For example, with additional follow up by the user, it may work as a kind of online matching service linking those who own and run anaerobic digestion facilities with those looking to dispose of organic waste, including excess food. In an anaerobic digestion facility, the process of organic decomposition is controlled in an oxygen-free, sealed tank so that the byproducts—biogas such as methane, and biosolids, which can be used as fertilizers—can be collected and sold or used on site.
The interactive and easy-to-use map was initially designed in 2014 by the Office of Research and Development’s (ORD) Regional Sustainability and Environmental Sciences Research Program (RESES). Since then, it was taken over by the Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) and has evolved from a regional tool to a national one.
The recently updated version 2.0 now includes nearly 1.2 million potential excess food generators, including correctional and educational facilities, healthcare operations, food wholesalers, restaurants, and more. Some 4,000 recipients are identified including composting facilities and food banks.
About the Interactive Map
The U.S. EPA Excess Food Opportunities Map supports nationwide diversion of excess food from landfills. The interactive map identifies and displays facility-specific information about potential generators and recipients of excess food in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors and also provides estimates of excess food by generator type.
The map has been updated to Version 2.0 and now displays the locations of nearly 1.2 million potential excess food generators. These include:
- correctional facilities.
- educational institutions.
- food banks.
- healthcare facilities.
- hospitality industry.
- food manufacturing and processing facilities.
- food wholesale and retail.
- restaurants and food services.
The map also displays the locations of communities with source separated organics programs, as well as more than 4,000 potential recipients of excess food. These include:
- anaerobic digestion facilities.
- composting facilities.
- food banks.
The mapped establishments and their locations are provided for informational purposes only. The Agency does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided as it has not been verified.