MINNEAPOLIS, June 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- General Mills today was named a founding partner of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, a collaborative initiative between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130228/MM68998LOGO ) The U.S. Food Waste Challenge urges producer groups, processors, manufacturers, retailers, communities, and other government agencies to reduce food loss and waste, recover wholesome food for human consumption and recycle discards for other uses , such as animal feed, compost, or energy generation. "General Mills is deeply committed to reducing and eliminating food waste at every opportunity, and we recognize this as a critical challenge for both food manufacturers and consumers," said Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer, General Mills. "Food waste sent to landfill is the biggest opportunity for our industries to address hunger in America and lessen our environmental footprint." Food that can be consumed but is trashed bypasses hungry Americans. Today, one in six Americans struggles with hunger. Moreover, food waste has a dramatic impact on the environment. Food in landfills creates methane gas, a significant source of greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than CO 2 over a 100-year period, according to the EPA. Since 2011, General Mills has been at the forefront of the food waste issue as a co-chair of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance. The goals of the Alliance – comprising the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Restaurant Association and many member companies – are to reduce the amount of food going to landfills and to increase the amount of food going to hungry people. "Dramatically reducing the amount of wasted food is a critical strategy in the drive for food security in the United States. Nearly 40 million tons of food waste is sent to landfill every year – that's enough to meet the needs of every hungry American," said Lynch. "By tackling this issue head on, we're keeping food out of landfills, which saves us money and gets food to hungry people." As part of the company's participation in the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, General Mills has made a commitment to focus on enhancing its current process by creating a direct communication link to Feeding America and adding capabilities to donate ingredients and packaging, in addition to finished products, which could save an estimated 30 million pounds of waste.