Local food waste may soon dramatically decrease as the House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 8873, or the Food Waste Reduction Act, on Feb. 4 with the lower chamber voting unanimously in favor of the bill.

Here’s everything you need to know about the initiative to increase food security in the Philippines:

What will the bill do?

It will require the donation of food surplus and the creation and regulation of food banks.

Who will be affected?

Food manufacturers, food establishments (including restaurants, cafes, diners, fast food chains, and hotels), supermarkets with at least 500 meters of selling space, and culinary schools with at least 50 students.

How will the food be collected?

The concerned persons and organizations must segregate the edible from inedible surplus, have an accredited health inspector approve of the edible food, and then donate the said food to accredited food banks.

What happens next?

The Department of Social Welfare and Development will distribute the food banks to those in need, in coordination with local government units.

How will people learn about this?

The bill also marks the beginning of the National Food Surplus Campaign, which will aim to raise awareness on the impact of food waste, surplus, and management, and how households can help in the community effort. 

How much food do we actually waste?

There is actually enough food in the world to feed everyone if it weren’t wasted. The Philippine Statistics Authority estimates that an average Filipino household wastes 1.676 kilograms of rice a year. That sums up to 38.507 million kilograms of wasted food a year, at a value of P1.617 billion.

What happens if people don’t abide by the law?

The penalty for breaking the law will range from one to five million for those who sell what should be donated food.

What’s the impact of this law?

HB 8873 is aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 2, which aims to achieve zero hunger by ensuring food security worldwide.

One of the primary authors of the bill, Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-OWA party-list noted that it’s time to prioritize food security to address the growing amount of food that ends up in dumpsites that could otherwise feed someone else or even be repurposed as livestock feed for farmers. “We should start to treat food waste reduction as a critical goal for 2019,” Garin says.