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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Let’s Talk About Waste Reduction!

The Center for EcoTechnology has been a leader in the wasted food reduction and diversion movement for over 20 years. We believe that better managing wasted food is critical in order to address climate change, feed more hungry people, and grow our economy. We hope to offer you an informative description of the waste reduction programs we are involved in and events we have recently partaken in.

On Wednesday, October 17th, the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) Program Specialist Shomita Bhattacharya presented at the first ever Zero Waste Schools Coalition, arranged through the efforts of Wilton Go Green. The coalition took place at the Middlebrook Middle School in Wilton, Connecticut, and was formed to connect, learn, and share ways to introduce or enhance programming to reduce waste in schools. CET presented along with Chartwells Food Service, Wilton Zero Waste Schools Committee Members, Curbside Compost, and the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation. CET highlighted resources available to the Zero Waste Schools Coalition such as West Hartford’s Food Scraps Diversion Guidance document, Wasted Food Solutions, and grant opportunities.

Program Specialist, Shomita Bhattacharya, presenting at the Zero Waste Schools Coalition

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Is the Zero Waste Lifestyle Possible for Me?

Mason jars, stainless steel straws, and reusable shopping bags. Most of us have heard of these items as tools to help us reduce waste in our daily lives. In fact, the Center for EcoTechnology has written a few blogs about this concept of zero waste before, highlighting ways to incorporate waste free actions into our routines and special events. These ideas are practical and helpful but in this blog, we want to take a step back and look at why they might not be possible or accessible to all demographics.

What is zero waste?

Most cohesively, zero waste is a movement to reduce the amount that individuals and communities consume and consequently throw away. A zero waste lifestyle promotes a circular economy, one that is sustainable and functional for long-term use. It encourages more complex thinking about the resources we use and utilizes concepts like reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting as potential solutions.

zero waste

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