ReFED Relaunches Digital Database to Combat Food Waste

The nonprofit ReFED, in collaboration with the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), recently updated and relaunched the Food Waste Policy Finder. This online tool provides a comprehensive database of legislative and regulatory policy at the federal, state, and local levels pertaining to food waste prevention, recovery, and recycling.

Aiming to serve as an educational platform, the database highlights the role policy plays in supporting food waste reduction goals. Policymakers and advocates can find regular updates of policies, read about best practices in supporting food waste reduction goals, and search for case studies.

The relaunch of the database follows the publication of the U.S. Food Loss & Waste Policy Action Plan for Congress and the Administration, which ReFED co-authored along with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Harvard Law School FLPC.

“Policy is a critical lever for accelerating the adoption of food waste reduction solutions at a large scale, and it’s unique in its power to provide a spark that can move the food system to action,” Samantha Goerger, ReFED Policy Fellow, tells Food Tank.

The online tool now features a special rating system that shows the positive and negative effects of different policies across the country. The Food Waste Policy Finder’s new rating tool is designed to encourage policymakers and advocates to compare their state to others and consider how they can improve their own policies.

Goerger explains that states with more hesitant policymakers “may choose to take smaller steps to strengthen their policies and move up one grade level,” while more ambitious states can search case studies for the strongest policies in the country and aim to match those.

To help nonprofits and businesses understand which policies benefit or hinder their work, ReFED and the FLPC aim to make the language of policies more accessible. According to Goerger, food rescue organizations can view liability protections and date label donation requirements that they can use to communicate with potential donors. Retailers and manufacturers who may generate large amounts of waste can look for several pathways for excess food, as well as any requirements they may be subject to under an organic waste ban.

“We hope people and businesses use the Policy Finder to understand current policies and to advocate for better ones,” Goerger tells Food Tank. “Reducing food waste is a win-win-win for the environment, for people, and for the economy.”

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Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske, Unsplash

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