Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture
Goal: Require supermarkets to donate all unsold, edible food to food banks and charities, and ban wasteful disposal of food.
France just passed a law that requires all supermarkets 4,300 feet or larger to make contracts with food banks and charities in order to dispose of all unsold, edible food. Supermarkets that fail to comply with this new law can be punished with fines up to $84,000, and two years of imprisonment. This law was brought to the French Senate after a petition on Change.org, and the people of the United States of America want the same responsible, and humanitarian food disposal system in place.
Forty percent of food in the United States goes uneaten; a ridiculous statistic considering the fact that 48.1 million Americans live in food-insecure households. Food banks and charities that depend on donations have a deficit of fresh produce, which is the food group most frequently disposed of by supermarkets. In 2010, grocery stores across the U.S. threw out 43 billion pounds of food. If even 15 percent of the food disposed of were to be donated, it would be enough to feed 25 million Americans each year, cutting the rate of food insecurity by more than half.
Furthermore, this system would be beneficial to the environment. Food waste that is disposed of through the Department of Sanitation ends up mainly in landfills and combustors. When organic waste decays in landfills, the biogas–or the mixture of gasses released in the decaying process–is a combination of methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and often includes contaminants such as heavy metals. These compounds are all greenhouse gasses, making the decaying process of organic matter in landfills a contributor to global warming. Assuring that unsold, edible supermarket food is consumed is imperative for environmental sustainability.
By signing the petition below you will help urge the Secretary of Agriculture to require supermarkets to donate unsold, edible food to food banks and charities instead of wasteful disposal of edible food in order to create a more environmentally friendly and humanitarian waste system.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
France just passed a law that requires supermarkets over 4,300 square feet to donate all unsold, edible food to food banks and charities. Failure to do so results in high fines and even imprisonment. Most unsold food that supermarkets dispose of includes edible fresh produce, which will greatly benefit the patrons of food banks, increasing the value of the nutrition of their food.
In 2010, supermarkets and grocery stores threw out 43 billion pounds of food that ended up in landfills and combustors. The majority of this food was edible and could have gone to food banks or charities that could assist the millions of Americans that go hungry every day. Furthermore, once in a landfill, the decomposition process of food waste creates methane, hydrogen sulfide, and other greenhouse gasses, contributing to global warming.
I am urging you to mandate charitable disposal of edible foods by supermarkets. Please take actions to enforce policies that encourage humanitarian and environmentally friendly waste disposal and promote environmental sustainability.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture