Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) recently introduced a bill in Congress aimed at reducing the amount of food that is wasted each year in the United States.
“Forty percent of all food produced in the United States each year is wasted,” Pingree said. “The Food Recovery Act takes a comprehensive approach to reducing the amount of food that ends up in landfills and at the same time reducing the number of Americans who have a hard time putting food on the table.”
Pingree was joined by dozens of people representing groups and organizations from throughout Maine as she announced the bill including George Parmenter, Manager of Sustainability, Hannaford Supermarkets.
Hannaford was the first grocery store chain to enroll all of their stores in the Grocery Stewardship Certification Program. Forty Hannaford supermarkets in Maine may be the first major grocery stores in the country to have completely eliminated their food waste; these stores send no food at all to landfills. This milestone is part of Hannaford’s “moving toward zero waste” commitment — a comprehensive program to minimize excess inventory, rescue food for hunger relief, recycle materials, and divert excess food for composting, rendering and bio-digestion. The company expects to donate more than 18 million pounds of rescued food to hunger relief this year, up from 14.6 million pounds last year.
“Hannaford diverts more than 80% of all waste generated by the company’s 188 supermarkets, keeping more than 125 million pounds of waste a year out of Northeast landfills,” said Parmenter following the press conference. “Recently, more than three dozen Hannaford stores eliminated the last of their food waste by sending excess packaged food to Exeter Agri-Energy, a Maine firm that uses bio-digestion technology to convert food scraps into clean energy.”
While the Grocery Stewardship Certification program is an international program, it’s exciting to see this commitment to sustainability and reducing grocery store food waste taking place in our backyard here in Maine.
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