Pittsburgh to Join Nationwide Food Waste Initiative

PITTSBURGH, PA  (August 31, 2020) The City of Pittsburgh is one of ten cities nationwide chosen to be part of the Food Matters Regional Initiative, a program seeking to advance food waste prevention, surplus food rescue, and recycling of food scraps. 

Legislation finalizing the City’s participation with the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) program is being introduced to City Council tomorrow. The effort will be led by the Department of City Planning. 

"The Food Matters legislation will allow the City to continue expanding work to reduce food waste through prevention, food rescue, and recycling of food scraps. These solutions benefit the economic prosperity of the area and decrease pollution caused by waste," Planning Director Andrew Dash said. 

NRDC describes the initiative this way: 

"In 2017, NRDC, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, released a duo of Food Matters reports that estimated quantities and types of food wasted and opportunities to expand food rescue in three U.S. cities—Denver, Nashville, and New York City. Key findings included that two-thirds of food thrown out at the residential level could have been eaten, and there is a substantial amount of surplus food throughout city sectors. These findings led us to develop a toolkit of policies and programs for cities to tackle food waste.   

. . . Our in-depth work with Nashville, Denver, and Baltimore provided us the opportunity to test many of our strategic approaches and develop additional tools to help prevent food from going to waste, rescue surplus food, and recycle food scraps, including implementing Mayoral restaurant challengestraining health inspectors to advocate for food waste strategies, and deploying our Save the Food consumer education assets. Some of the lessons learned during this work included the importance of a systems approach, including building cross-agency teams and engaging local partners."   

There is no cost to the City for entering the program. 

City Planning is working closely with its local partner, Sustainable Pittsburgh. Staff from both Sustainable Pittsburgh and City Planning (Shelly Danko+Day and Rebecca Bykoski) attended the Food Matters Cities Summit in Denver in November where they were inspired by NRDCs work in Baltimore, Nashville, and Denver. This program will help the City learn from these forward thinking cities as Pittsburgh navigates towards its Climate Action Plan 3.0 Zero-Waste goals. 



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Timothy McNulty
Communications Director
Mayor's Office