Celebrate America Recycles Day with CET

America Recycles DayToday is America Recycles Day! According to the EPA the United States recycles at a rate of around 34.3%, and with your help we can raise that even more! Recycling and composting are growing industries accounting for 757,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in wages, as well as an additional $6.7 billion in tax revenue. That is roughly 1.57 jobs for every 1,000 tons of material recycled! By increasing the amount we recycle we can conserve natural resources, while strengthening our economy!

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Wasted Food Reduction Across the Hierarchy at UMass Amherst

By Kevin Pink, Marketing & Development Assistant

EPA Food Recovery HierarchyIt’s no secret that wasted food is a big issue in America. According to the USDA, 30- 40% of food produced in this country goes uneaten every year. In 2010, this amounted to 133 billion pounds of food, worth $161 billion. This wasted food doesn’t go to the American households classified as food insecure (12.3% of American households in 2016), but instead often ends up in landfills, where it creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Colleges and universities serve thousands of meals daily, and thus have the potential to produce a significant amount of wasted food. UMass Dining Services is the largest college dining services operation in the nation, serving 45,000 meals daily or 5.5 million meals per year. UMass takes a concerted approach to reducing wasted food along the guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy.

So how is UMass addressing the Food Recovery Hierarchy? Here are a few examples!

Source Reduction: Reduce the volume of surplus food generated.

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WasteWise Spring Forum: Helping More Businesses Waste Less

By Matt Brodeur, Green Business Fellow

Photos Courtesy of Ben Coe

On May 9, Gillette Stadium hosted RecyclingWorks in MA, MassDEP, and US EPA for the WasteWise Spring Forum on food recovery across the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy.

RecyclingWorks organizes the WasteWise Forums which take place in the spring and fall each year and span a range of solid waste, recycling, and food waste topics for businesses and institutions. The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) administers RecyclingWorks, a MassDEP funded program which assists businesses and institutions with establishing recycling and composting programs.

Bronson Green, Site Operations Manager for Gillette Stadium

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Unpacking Food Waste

By Matt Brodeur, Green Business Fellow

Some quantity of spoiled and damaged foods are an unfortunate but inevitable part of supermarket and food manufacturing operations. Being able to keep these food products out of landfills has been a challenge given that many foods are sealed in packaging. However, BioCycle details how one Massachusetts company, E.L. Harvey & Sons Inc., invested in mechanical separation technology to remove packaging from food. E.L. Harvey received a grant through MassDEP’s Recycling Business Development Grant (RBDG) program which enabled them to purchase and install the separator.

Depackaging Food Waste

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Gain Recognition for your Waste Reduction Efforts

By Matt Brodeur, Green Business Fellow

For most organizations, there is always room to reduce the amount of waste produced, whether it is food, cardboard, or hazardous materials. Businesses and institutions are motivated to reduce waste for a wide variety of reasons including economic and environmental concerns. But, often, reducing waste through prevention, reuse, or recycling is a thankless endeavor.

Waste Reduction

WasteWise 2016 Fall Forum

Participants in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) and WasteWise programs gain the opportunity to receive recognition and a way to broadcast their achievements to customers and employees. While FRC specifically pertains to reducing wasted food, WasteWise rewards organizations for a broader range of solid waste materials. Both national programs are voluntary and free of cost for participants.

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