In 2020, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order for Michigan to become carbon neutral by 2050. Included in this order was also a target of a 28% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. The MI Healthy Climate plan is being put together to guide how we will get there. And when we heard that, we knew food loss and waste reduction could be an important part of that plan.

Food waste is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions. When we throw food away into a landfill, it decomposes — not into that healthy soil we know as compost, but as methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. And here in Michigan, we landfill a lot. In 2019, we tossed 1.7 billion pounds of food into the dump which put that same number of pounds of methane into the atmosphere. Our landfilled food is making a mess of our climate (and for many, our basements).

We put some of the best heads in Michigan and the U.S. together to come up with our Top 10 recommendations on how our state government can use food waste reduction to help reach that carbon neutrality target. Some of them will take putting policies in place while others require good old fashioned working together. Here’s a sneak peek:

  1. Provide additional food donation liability protection
  2. Incorporate food waste strategies in schools
  3. Address date labels
  4. Support compost end market development
  5. Support education of food service professionals in food waste reduction
  6. Support consumer education and behavior change
  7. Address food loss on farms
  8. Provide state tax credits beyond the current limited federal tax deductions for food rescue 
  9. Provide additional grants and incentives
  10. Create the environment needed to change behavior to reduce food waste through diversion from landfills

You can read the full plan here. If you do, let us know what you think!