Food waste and food insecurity are social, economic and environmental issues. One third of food produced across the world goes to waste each year, which is equal to $1 trillion lost annually and is a missed opportunity to feed the estimated 795 million undernourished people globally.
Dow partnered with the Montgomery County Food Bank and several industry and local stakeholders to implement a Produce Rescue Center in Texas. The project combines existing solutions into an innovative approach to collect, sort and redistribute nutritious produce rejected by retailers. We contributed our expertise and funding to create the Produce Rescue Center, where volunteers collect and sort produce that would typically be destined for landfills because of imperfect appearance. The produce that is able to be rescued is wrapped in plastic packaging made from Dow resin, which keeps it fresh for up to 20 additional days. This added preservation time makes it possible to deliver more produce to hunger relief organizations and people in need.
The Produce Rescue Center in Houston, Texas, is an example of how Dow is leveraging its value chain relationships and expertise to help advance a circular economy and increase food security.
Since project launch, the Produce Rescue Center has rescued 3.9 million pounds of produce from landfills. Eighty-five percent of produce from truckloads has been saved, while 15 percent has been composted by Living Earth. The project has reduced the Food Bank’s cost of fresh produce from 18 cents per pound to 10 cents per pound, and the cost is projected to decline to 3 cents per pound in the Center’s third year due to increased efficiencies.
This collaboration has demonstrated how Dow’s products can help prevent food waste. Since launch, 200,000 pounds of good produce has been packaged with plastics produced by Printpack with a recyclable Dow resin.