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    ReFED Newsletter: December

    Dear ReFED Supporters,

    Winter may be in full swing, but work at ReFED is really heating up! Over the next few months, expect some big announcements, including the launch of two new online tools (additional details below) and the kick-off of our Funder Collaborative. We are beyond excited to lift the curtain on these projects, and encourage you to take advantage of these resources and share them broadly with your networks as they are released.

    At ReFED, as we’ve remained heads down on the important work we have in front of us – reducing food waste at scale in the United States – we recognize that the government and policy sphere are rapidly changing around us.

    In a time when many things feel unknown, one thing is certain – reducing food waste in our businesses and our homes is an action that each one of us can make meaningful strides on today. We remain optimistic that real change can happen over the next few years and look forward to collaborating with you as we collectively reduce our country’s food waste problem.

    On behalf of the ReFED team,
    Sarah Vared, Interim Director

    ReFED in Action

    ReFED's Sarah Vared Interviewed for Waste360

    Sarah Vared recently spoke with Arlene Karidis of Waste360 about what we have been up to since the release of the Roadmap, as well as what direction we are heading in this year. In response to a question about ReFED’s hope for the long term, Sarah replied, “ReFED’s ultimate goal is to put ourselves out of a job.” Let’s get to work!

    Coming Soon: Online Policy Tool and Innovator Database
    In partnership with the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, ReFED is developing an online Policy Tool that provides a comprehensive overview of federal and state policies that facilitate food waste reduction and diversion. The tool will enable policymakers to quickly assess the policy landscape, identify best practices, and understand the federal regulations that already exist. Which states have effective policy to encourage food donation? Which states are leading on recycling policy? Learn this and more with our tool!

    In addition to the Policy Tool, ReFED will publicly release our Innovator Database – a living compilation of 350+ commercial and nonprofit entities turning the food waste problem into an entrepreneurial opportunity. ReFED will use the database to highlight trends, growth areas, and gaps in food waste innovation, ultimately helping drive more efficient, scalable solutions. In addition, we intend to educate the investment community on the vast opportunities associated with innovative food waste solutions to drive increased investment in this sector. Excited? So are we!

    Both tools are slated to launch in March 2017 – be sure to look out for the announcement!

    WANT A VIP TOUR OF THESE NEW TOOLS? To accompany the launch of the Policy Tool and Innovator Database, ReFED will host a webinar on Thursday, March 30, at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET. Send us an email to reserve your spot!

    In 2017, ReFED will be sending targeted communications based on your interests. To ensure you receive information most relevant to you, please update your ReFED Subscriber Profile.

    Updates From the ReFED Network

    The Food Donation Act of 2017 Introduced

    On February 7, U.S. Representatives Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and James P. McGovern (D-MA) introduced The Food Donation Act of 2017 (click here to view official press release). This post from the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (HFLPC) explains that the proposed legislation enhances the coverage of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, extends liability protection in ways that support modern food donation, and reduces several barriers to donating food.

    Further with Food Portal Launches

    In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a coalition of industry and nonprofit organizations launched “Further With Food: Center for Food Loss and Waste Solutions.” An online hub and first-of-its-kind aggregator of existing food waste research and resources, the tool will help actors across industries and sectors better engage with research in the field and more accurately identify gaps in knowledge and resources to advance food waste reduction efforts. The project was made possible with partner contributions and a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, as part of their YieldWise Initiative. For more information, visit

    USDA Date Labeling Recommendations

    In December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued updated guidelines on food product labeling, including a recommendation for manufacturers that make products best suited for quality labels. According to this press release, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is recommending the use of “Best if Used By” because research shows the phrase is easily understood by consumers as an indicator of quality, rather than safety. “This new guidance can help consumers save money and curb the amount of wholesome food going in the trash,” said Al Almanza, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety.

    Baldor Specialty Foods Diverts All Organic Material From Landfill

    At the end of last year, Baldor Specialty Foods announced it successfully implemented its strategy to divert all food material generated at its facilities from the landfill. According to Thomas McQuillan, Director of Food Service Sales and Sustainability and member of ReFED’s Advisory Council, the strategy is driving economic benefits. “There is a substantial benefit to the bottom line in two ways: If you are able to sell the sparcs, now you have revenue generation. You’re also saving whatever it would cost to eliminate it,” he explains in this Washington Post article.

    In Case You Missed It…

    Within the last few months, Vermont and Massachusetts released reports that exhibit the economic and environmental impacts of progressive food waste reduction policies, providing incentives for additional action across the nation. In Vermont, trash disposal decreased 5% statewide from 2014 to 2015, while food donation grew by nearly 40% and recycling and composting increased by 2% in the same time period – all attributed to the Universal Recycling Law unanimously passed in 2012. MassDEP reports that the Commercial Food Waste Ban implemented in 2014 has created more than 900 jobs and stimulated $175 million in economic activity across the state after two years.

    Have an update or call to action? We want to know about it.

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