WASHINGTON — The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), a cross-sector industry initiative led by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA), has released The Best Practices and Emerging Solutions Toolkit, a new solutions-based tool designed to help businesses in the food sector reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfill.

“The Food Waste Reduction Alliance has been working to tackle food waste challenges within the food sector since 2011, but we know that there are companies out there that are just starting to look at the issue,” said Gail Tavill, vice-president of sustainable development for ConAgra Foods and one of the toolkit authors. “Our goal for the toolkit is to elevate the issue of food waste within the sector and enable more companies to take action by sharing key learnings and model practices gleaned from organizations who are at the leading edge of this issue.”

According to the FWRA, approximately 80 billion lbs. of food waste is discarded in US landfills each year, with some a byproduct of manufacturing, retail and food service operations. The FWRA toolkit focuses on strategies food manufacturers, retailers and food service operators may employ to keep food out of landfills and to reduce food waste at the source.

Specific topics discussed in the toolkit include:

• Tactics for overcoming obstacles to food donation such as liability and supply chain issues;

• Emerging solutions and new technologies for recycling food waste, including energy production opportunities; and

• Strategic planning to avoid food waste generation.

The toolkit also offers a “Getting Started” section for companies that are just beginning to consider food waste reduction strategies. Conducting a waste characterization assessment, establishing standard operating procedures and developing collaborative relationships with partners from the anti-hunger community, waste management providers and other stakeholders are among the starting points outlined in the toolkit, the FWRA said.

The toolkit also features real-life examples and case studies. For more information visit www.foodwastealliance.org.