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Reps. Pingree, Lawler Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Curb Food Waste

The NO TIME TO Waste Act supports food recovery and preventing food waste through research, public-private partnerships, enhanced government coordination and more

U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) today introduced bicameral legislation to help reduce food waste. The bipartisan New Opportunities for Technological Innovation, Mitigation, and Education to Overcome Waste Act, or the NO TIME TO Waste Act, would support research and new technologies, bolster collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and regional waste prevention and food recovery organizations, strengthen the federal government’s approach to food waste, and build initiatives that work towards the goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030. Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). 

“It’s estimated that 30-40 percent of the entire United States food supply is discarded every year. This is bad for the environment, extremely costly, and is a lost opportunity to help feed the millions of Americans who are food insecure,” said Congresswoman Pingree, co-founder of the Congressional Food Recovery Caucus and member of the House Agriculture Committee. “To combat food waste and hunger, we need whole-of-government action. The NO TIME TO Waste Act would strengthen the federal government’s approach to food loss by tackling waste in every step of our food system—from prevention research and education to composting and donation programs.”

“Each year, around 40 percent of all food produced in the United States is lost or wasted despite the fact that more than 34 million Americans, including 9 million children, go hungry. When it comes to combating hunger, there is no time to waste. That’s why I’m proud to join Congresswoman Pingree (D-ME-01) and Senators Coons (D-DE) and Moran (R-KS) in introducing the bicameral, bipartisan NO TIME TO Waste Act,” said Congressman Lawler. “This common sense legislation will help cut food loss and waste (FLW) through federal coordination, research, innovation, and education. This bill is an important step to eliminating food waste and hunger, goals that we all share, regardless of politics.”

“Food waste and hunger harms more than 34 million Americans and disproportionately impacts rural communities in Delaware and across our nation,” said Senator Coons. “My bipartisan NO TIME TO Waste Act strengthens collaborative efforts between federal agencies, supports public-private partnerships, and raises public awareness about the impact of food loss. By addressing food loss and waste, we can improve children’s health, fight malnutrition, and even protect our environment without putting more strain on family farms across the country.”

“Kansas is the breadbasket of the country, helping feed the nation and the world,” said Senator Moran. “However, nearly 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. goes to waste while millions of Americans suffer from hunger. This legislation would require collaboration between agencies to help cut food waste and support partnerships to feed those in need.” 

The NO TIME TO Waste Act would:

  • Establish an Office of Food Loss and Waste in the USDA to enhance the work of the current USDA Food Loss and Waste Reduction Liaison. 
  • Improve coordination to prevent and reduce food loss and waste by designating regional coordinators to facilitate real-time food recovery; understanding and developing the capacity needed for ongoing food recovery; and providing technical support to food recovery organizations.
  • Establish a Food Recovery and Distribution Infrastructure Support and Coordination Block Grant Program to award annual block grants to carry out projects to develop and support food recovery infrastructure and innovative food distribution models.
  • Strengthen the federal government’s approach to food loss and waste by authorizing an interagency collaboration on food loss and waste across the U.S. government committed to working towards the goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030. The collaboration will also receive input from agricultural producers, nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and food recovery organizations.
  • Support composting and food waste reduction projects by extending and expanding grant eligibility through the Community Composting and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) program.
  • Promote public-private partnerships that commit to reducing food loss and food waste under the regional food system partnerships program.
  • Initiate a national food waste education and public awareness campaign focused on how much food goes to waste in households across the United States, methods for preserving and storing foods, tips to identifying whether food is still safe and edible, and more.

This legislation has received the endorsement of the Zero Food Waste Coalition (Natural Resources Defense Council, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, World Wildlife Fund, ReFED), Bread for the World, Upcycled Food Association, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Global Cold Chain Alliance, Plastic Free Delaware/Zero Waste First State, and Health Care Without Harm.

“Congresswoman Pingree’s new bill, No Time to Waste, is aptly named and expertly designed to take quick action to correct this modern problem of wasted food in America. Food waste has become a huge economic, social, and environmental problem, but it can be solved leading to huge economic, social and environmental benefits,” said Susanne Lee, Sen. George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions Faculty Fellow. “This bill focuses on the most important and proven, cost-effective food waste and loss solutions – consumer education and food waste tracking/analytics. The first makes the problem clear and the second highlights where to take action. Finally, the bill’s provisions for regional and community engagement are ideal to enhance the effectiveness of this much-needed bill.” 

Zero Food Waste Coalition: “The No Time To Waste Act recognizes the need for responsible food loss and waste policy in order to respond to the climate and hunger crises in the United States. We are excited to support this bill and we thank Senators Coons and Moran and Representatives Pingree and Lawler on their stewardship of innovative food loss and waste federal policy. This bill takes meaningful steps toward a future with a sustainable and resilient food system by supporting better coordination amongst government agencies, infrastructure to reduce food waste and boost food recovery, and consumer education and awareness campaigns.” 

“The NO TIME TO Waste Act acknowledges the critical role that food loss and waste prevention efforts can play in addressing both the climate crisis and food insecurity. Better coordination amongst government agencies, support for infrastructure and organizational policies to support food waste reduction and food recovery efforts, and consumer education and awareness campaigns are meaningful steps toward a future with a more sustainable food system. We are thrilled to support this bill, which is aligned with the recommendations in our report on Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste in the 2023 Farm Bill. We thank Senator Coons and Senator Moran for his leadership on the effort.” Emily Broad Leib, Faculty Director, Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic

“Up to 40% of food going to waste in this country is a big problem, and big problems require big solutions. This bill offers that up by creating an office within USDA dedicated to food loss and waste, supporting more robust research, educating consumers, and providing more critical funding and collaboration. With these new systems and processes, the nation is better positioned to reach its goal of 50% reduction in food waste by 2030.” Yvette Cabrera, Director of Food Waste, NRDC, member of the Zero Food Waste Coalition

“It is estimated that nearly 40 percent of our food supply in the United States is going to waste. Along with this waste comes the squandering of the underlying land, water, and energy resources associated with food production and significant greenhouse gas emissions when food decomposes in landfills.  The bipartisan NO TIME TO Waste Act provides common sense solutions to address the issue of food waste and deliver environmental, social, and economic benefits.” Pete Pearson, Senior Director, Food Waste, World Wildlife Fund, member of the Zero Food Waste Coalition

“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is excited to see a concrete, bipartisan plan for greenhouse gas reductions from food waste that invests in community and regional coordination around efficient food recovery efforts to distribute healthy and safe upcycled food products. These provisions provide an effective, easily adoptable set of pathways for municipalities nationwide to move towards substantial emissions reductions, especially from methane." Hannah Quigley, Local and Regional Food Policy Specialist, and Cathy Day, Climate Policy Coordinator

"Food waste is a systemwide problem that requires systemwide action to solve. Government policy plays a critical role in driving that action forward – through coordination and collaboration, research and education, funding, and more. The NO TIME TO Waste Act will provide important resources to support the food system's efforts to reduce food waste and will help make sure that food goes to its highest and best use of feeding people." Dana Gunders, Executive Director, ReFED, member of the Zero Food Waste Coalition 

A one-pager is available HERE. Bill text is available HERE.


Domestic food production accounts for significant land use, water usage, and energy consumption and results in greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, recovering food helps reduce emissions and ensures that the hard work and resources that go into producing food is not wasted. 

Pingree has long recognized that food waste reduction is a win-win, bringing both environmental and economic benefits. In the spring of 2018, she launched Congress’s first-ever Bipartisan Food Recovery Caucus with former Congressman David Young (R-Iowa), and currently serves as co-chair with Congressman Newhouse. The 2018 Farm Bill included Pingree’s provisions to create the first full-time food loss and waste reduction liaison at USDA, a composting and food waste reduction pilot program, and the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) to reduce on-farm waste. 

Click here to learn more about Pingree’s efforts to reduce food waste.


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