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Jennifer Otten Investigates What Businesses and Anti-Hunger Agencies Think of Local Governments’ Efforts to Manage Food Waste

Posted: 10/26/2018 (CSDE Research)

In the US, 40% of all food intended for human consumption is wasted, incurring economic, environmental, and social consequences as well as posing equity concerns. Local governments are well positioned to support innovations and equity-oriented approaches for tackling food waste issues at a systems-level. Yet, how do food-generating businesses and anti-hunger agencies think local governments could work with them to address food waste?

To answer this question, CSDE Affiliate Jennifer Otten, Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at UW,  interviewed 20 agencies and businesses in her recent paper, “Commercial and Anti-Hunger Sector Views on Local Government Strategies for Helping to Manage Food Waste.” The study presents the key challenges of Seattle’s agencies and food-generating businesses to addressing food waste prevention, recovery, and composting. Strategies recommended for local governments included: committing resources that enable a systems approach; helping to standardize metrics and normalize waste audits; and supporting the optimal operation of the emergency food system by helping improve infrastructure and efficiency.

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