Addressing senior hunger through Food Waste and Reclamation

The information here provides seniors, caregivers, aging services providers, policymakers and the many who work with seniors with background information, key resources and ways to leverage the opportunities of food waste and reclamation. You will gain knowledge about food waste, the severity of food waste and some recommended solutions, how you can help the seniors in your community to address senior hunger and where to refer seniors for resources and services in their communities.

Key statistics on Food Waste and Reclamation in Georgia

Your first stop in understanding Food Waste and Reclamation in Georgia is looking at the statistics we shared in Key Statistics on Senior Hunger. There you had the opportunity to see some key state level demographics of older Georgians. Here are a few more that you should know:

  • The U.S. EPA Excess Food Opportunities Map supports nationwide diversion of excess food from landfills. The interactive map identifies and displays facility-specific information about potential generators and recipients of excess food in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors and provides estimates of excess food by generator type. There may be resources available to close this loop in Georgia and create paths toward sustainable food systems. The map displays the locations of nearly 1.2 million potential excess food generators. These include correctional facilities, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, the hospitality industry, food manufacturing and processing facilities, food wholesale and retail, restaurants and food services, anaerobic digestion facilities, composting facilities and food banks.
  • Food residuals make up 12% of landfill waste annually. That is nearly 151 pounds of food per Georgian every year, a total of 1.6 billion pounds of trash annually in Georgia. This amount of food waste translates to about $1.92 billion each year. Click here for more information.
  • The Georgia Environmental Protection Division's Food Residuals Diversion initiative is housed in the Solid Waste Program's Recovered Materials Unit. According to the most recent data available, food residuals are the largest single category of solid waste being disposed in Georgia’s landfills.

Strategies to address the needs of Food Waste and Reclamation in Georgia

Participate in gleaning.

What is gleaning? There is a great toolkit on gleaning from the USDA. Check it out here.

Donate Excess Food.

The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act provides criminal and civil liability protection for food donors and recipient nonprofit organizations that receive and distribute food to individuals in need. Donors such as farmers, distributors, processors, commercial service food operators, wholesalers or food retailers are protected under the Georgia statute, O.C.G.A. § 51-1-31.

Buy local and support Georgia Grown food.

Not only will you be reducing your food’s carbon footprint by purchasing fresh food, you'll also be supporting local economies and contributing to the growth of sustainable food systems.

Work with local food banks.

The Georgia Food Bank Association maintains a list of Georgia’s food banks and the counties they serve.

Participate in EPA's Food Recovery Challenge.

By joining this challenge, organizations can pledge to improve their sustainable food management practices. EPD’s Recovered Materials Unit hosts Food Paths workshops in conjunction with partner agencies and organizations with the goals of providing education on management strategies for wasted food and, ultimately, diverting organic materials from Georgia’s landfills. If you are interested in hosting a Food Paths workshop in your community, or in becoming a Food Paths partner, click here.