Model Ordinance on Mandatory Reporting for Large Food Waste Generators: With and Without Commentaries

Co-authored with Linda Breggin and Jessica Sugarman, Environmental Law Institute

Up to 40 percent of food in the United States is wasted—and 95 percent is disposed of in landfills or incinerated. Diverting food waste from landfills by preventing food waste, donating surplus food, and recycling food scraps can help municipalities achieve waste reduction and climate mitigation goals. However, many municipalities do not have data on the food wasted in their jurisdictions. Requiring organizations and companies that produce large amounts of food waste to report their waste is an important first step in reducing that waste.

This model ordinance, created by NRDC and the Environmental Law Institute, can be used by municipalities to require businesses, universities and other large organizations to report the amounts of food waste and surplus food they generate. The policy can be adapted as needed by municipalities and other types of local governments. Along with a background memo, a version of the model ordinance including commentaries explains the benefits of key provisions and provides information about alternative approaches that can help guide municipalities in tailoring the policy to their unique circumstances while still achieving the goals of the model ordinance.

For more information please contact Darby Hoover,, or Linda Breggin,

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