Press Release: State, Local Officials Gather to Discuss the Issue of Wasted Food in Rhode Island

November 20, 2018

For Further information:
Lorenzo Macaluso, CET, 413-218-1543


ANNOUNCEMENT EVENT TODAY:

  • Buxton Hollow Farm, North Smithfield, RI
  • 10:30 a.m.
  • Photo Op: compost operation tour

State, Local Officials Gather to Discuss the Issue of Wasted Food in Rhode Island
The Center for EcoTechnology has received federal funding to help address the critical issue

For many people in Rhode Island, Thanksgiving is a time of family gatherings and enjoyable eating. It’s also a time when many people and businesses donate to food rescue organizations, food pantries and soup kitchens, to ensure that the state’s hungriest people get warm, nutritious meals.

Meanwhile, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 40% of food in the USA goes uneaten. This wasted food is valued at approximately $165 billion annually and when disposed of in a landfill, is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases. Diversion from disposal of food waste in the State, be it by reduction of such waste in the first place, by donation to feed people or animals, or by composting and anaerobic digestion, is a priority.

New Federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) will address this issue by providing technical assistance to help businesses and institutions reduce wasted food.

The funding was announced today by Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin at Buxton Hollow Farm in North Smithfield. The announcement also highlighted the farm’s impressive compost operation, run by The Compost Plant.

With the Federal funds it has received, CET expects to provide technical assistance to many businesses across the state to successfully and cost effectively implement strategies to address their wasted food.  These efforts will also help businesses like the Compost Plant, grow and succeed.

“The amount of food that is wasted every year is staggering,” said Congressman Langevin, who has convened a Rhode Island Food Advisory Committee to better understand the agriculture and dining landscape in the state. “That’s why I’m thrilled that the Center for EcoTechnology has secured federal funding to help businesses across Rhode Island address this problem through efficient and cost-effective strategies. Food is a precious resource, and we cannot afford to waste it.”

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Food Waste: True or False

It’s that time of year again, the holiday season! In this post we will be talking about how you can decrease the environmental impact of your Thanksgiving… and also save money. Every year after a thanksgiving meal it seems like there’s so much food leftover. It is important we try our best to divert food from going to landfills. How much do you know about food waste?Join us in a true & false about food waste and test your knowledge!

“America wastes 40% of our food supply every year”

True. According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Americans waste 40% of our food supply each year which translates to 133 billion pounds of food, which is worth $161 billion. So the average american household is losing around $2,275 annually!

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Food Donation Resources for New York State

New York may be known for its bright lights, tourist attractions, and giant slices of pizza, but the state could also soon be known as a leader in diverting food waste from landfills! As the state of New York considers implementing a food waste ban, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC) and New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) are working together to assist businesses and service providers with their wasted food diversion. The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) has partnered with NYSP2I to continue to provide wasted food expertise for entities throughout the state. One of the most recent resources, a series of legal fact sheets regarding food donation in NY, was developed in collaboration with the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic.

WFS food donation

Similar fact sheets have been helpful for the food industry in other states, such as Massachusetts and Connecticut. These resources have already been a huge benefit for food waste generators and service providers by adding confidence surrounding the rules and protections for their businesses. The recently released New York documents explain the legal backgrounds of liability protections, date labeling laws, tax incentives, and feeding food scraps to animals.

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Wasting Food is a Waste of Money

Want to save money? Try looking in your refrigerator! According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy every year, which could cost a household as much as $2,275 annually! Wasting food means a waste of energy, water, and money. However, there are many ways that residents, customers, and businesses can help support the USDA and EPA goal to reduce wasted food by 50% by the year 2030:

Make Something New with Leftovers

One way to reduce wasted food is to check your pantry and refrigerator. Are there leftovers that could be repurposed? Check out the Save the Food campaign, which hosts resources to help communities and individuals address the importance of wasted food. For instance, Save the Food advises consumers on meal planning, understanding labels such as ‘best by,’ modifying storage practices, and reviving food. Also, read CET’s blog on best practices for storing and repurposing items past their prime. Reducing food ending up in your trash is a key way to saving money on grocery bills!

Get Involved with Food Rescue

Encourage local businesses to join Food Rescue programs, or volunteer as a food runner! For instance, MEANS database and Food Rescue US offer opportunities for local businesses, volunteers, and community kitchens or food pantries. Food rescue saves food that would have gone to waste, and feeds hungry people. By volunteering as a food runner you can give back to your community, and you can opt to volunteer whenever you are available.

vegetables

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Introducing: Wasted Food Solutions

We are thrilled to launch our newest resource: Wasted Food Solutions. This website gives businesses, service providers, and policy makers access to the resources they need to address one of our biggest challenges: wasted food.

CET acts as a catalyst to accelerate the development of a vibrant marketplace to divert wasted food from the commercial and institutional sectors. We have been a leader in the wasted food reduction and diversion movement for more than 20 years, implementing some of the first wasted food composting programs in the country, and contributing to effective public policy.

We believe that better managing wasted food is critical in order to address climate change, feed more hungry people, and grow our economy. If you are a city, state or federal agency, industry group or foundation, and want to tackle the issue of wasted food, please contact us!

wasted food web

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