Senate Bill No. 357: Zero Food Waste

Around one third of the food produced globally, equivalent to 1.3 billion tons or worth US$1 trillion (around P46 trillion), is wasted annually according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). There are both economic and environmental costs to this wastage. The forests and biodiversity cleared to create farmlands, along with the soils, energy, water, fertilizer, and labor utilized to produce food that is never eaten are also put to waste. A total of 28% of the global agricultural region is used to produce food that will eventually go to waste, according to the World Resources Institute. Furthermore, most of the greenhouse gas emissions are generated by food disposed of in landfills. With around 1 in 4 calories yielded remaining unconsumed, and a population of around 870 million without equitable access to food resources daily, this absurd disjuncture deems moral implications to this profound amount of discarded food.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines food loss as the decrease in the amount or nutritional quality of food that was intended for human consumption. FAO says that more than 40% of food loss in developing countries such as the Philippines happens before consumption—during production, postharvest, and processing.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) reports that rice losses reach around 15% in the postharvest stage. In addition, an estimated 296,869 metric tons of rice, equivalent to P7.3 billion, is wasted in the country according to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PRRI). The discarded amount could have fed more than 2 million Filipinos.

The food waste reduction hierarchy set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) shows, through an inverted triangular diagram, the most preferred to the least preferred actions that can be done with food waste. Topmost is source reduction, followed by donation to the hungry, diversion to animal feed, recovering energy, creating compost, and at the bottom is disposal of food in landfills. The provision of this bill on the National Anti-Food Waste Campaign addresses the proper information dissemination on the ways by which Filipinos can follow the food waste reduction hierarchy.

All this information point towards a conclusion that there is more than enough food in the world for everyone. And as a member-state to the United Nations and a country bound to the Sustainable Development Goals that forward human rights and social justice, it is highly essential for the Government to facilitate in redirecting surplus to those who do not have food on their plates.

By getting food-related businesses to donate their surplus food to food distribution charities thus providing food security to those without access to their next meal, this bill seeks to ultimately end the cycle of having food end up in the trash instead of stomachs.

The bill also demands the involvement of private individuals and their local governments in efficiently arriving at a segregation campaign to have household food waste readily available for recycling into fertilizer or compost.






Scroll to top