Addressing a growing need in the state of Illinois, State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) sponsored a new law that focused on reducing food waste and helping those in need.
“Food waste has far-reaching consequences, impacting our environment, adding to long-term cost burdens and compounding the very real issue some individuals face concerning the daily struggle of hunger,” said Curran. “This legislation is about implementing a fundamental change in Illinois’ procurement code, taking steps toward making Illinois a more environmentally friendly state and creating an opportunity to help those less fortunate.”
Senate Bill 2606 requires Illinois government agencies entering into contracts with food vendors to adopt a policy that allows for leftover food to be donated. The policy must be circulated to all agency employees and include the names of nearby soup kitchens, food banks, and other nonprofits where the food can be donated.
“This is a simple, but crucial, policy change that we can undertake to ensure we aren’t adding to Illinois’ already-overflowing landfills,” said Curran. “Through Senate Bill 2606, we’ve identified what I think was a wasteful oversight and are undertaking the process of adopting more environmentally-responsible practices for the state.”
According to the Illinois Environmental Council, approximately 23 percent of the 19 million tons of waste filling Illinois landfills each year is attributed to food scraps. Meanwhile, one in eight Illinoisans are considered food insecure.
“Beyond being more environmentally conscious, this legislation is creating an opportunity to give back to our communities. Food that could be making a real difference in the lives of so many is being unnecessarily wasted each-and-every day,” said Curran. “By implementing this commonsense, no-cost initiative, we can help those in need, tackle a known-source of food waste, and provide our donation centers with critical resources.”
Senate Bill 2606 was signed into law on August 3 and will take effect immediately.