Food Waste Initiative Creates Jobs in Massachusetts

To help businesses and institutions maximize recycling, reuse, and composting opportunities, the Center for EcoTechnology administers a program called  RecyclingWorksMA for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The agency has just released a report highlighting the economic benefits in Massachusetts of food waste reduction initiatives. The following post, with a link to the report, was originally posted on the RecyclingWorksMA blog.

And continuing the theme of economic successes in the state that are linked to environmental and economic sustainability initiatives, the Mass. Clean Energy Energy just released it’s annual Clean Energy Industry Report, which describes significant growth in this sector over 2015!


Yesterday, December 22, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) released a new report highlighting the positive economic benefits of reducing food waste. This report studied the effects of the Massachusetts Commercial Food Waste Ban, which prohibits businesses and institutions that generate one ton or more of food waste per week from disposing of that waste in the trash. About 1,700 facilities such as universities, supermarkets, food processors, hotels, conference centers, and restaurants are subject to the ban. This ban, which went into effect in October of 2014, was the nation’s first requiring commercial entities to divert wasted food from disposal via donation, animal feed, anaerobic digestion, or composting.

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New Harvard Toolkit Shines Light on Food Waste Policy

By Matt Brodeur, Green Business Fellow 

The Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic (FLPC) recently released a toolkit called Keeping Food Out of the Landfill: Policy Ideas for States and Localities to help stakeholders eliminate the mountainous problem of wasted food. CET’s Director of Green Business Services, Lorenzo Macaluso, contributed to the publication.

According to the toolkit, 63 million tons of food produced in the U.S. is wasted each year (1). To put that massive number into perspective, it takes “approximately 21% of the United States’ fresh water supply and 300 million barrels of oil…to produce food that goes to waste” (1). In addition, the amount of food that is wasted each year is significantly more than the amount that would be needed to eradicate hunger in the United States. In 2015, 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 13.1 million children.

cory

Having a set of proven solutions and recommendations to aid policymakers and other stakeholders in reducing wasted food is an invaluable resource. The toolkit has an array of sections on topics such as date labeling, organic waste bans, K-12 schools, and tax incentives for food donation. For example, the toolkit explains that the federal government does not regulate date labels on perishable foods, so some states have taken it upon themselves to enact date labeling laws. Other states, such as New York, have no regulations whatsoever governing how manufacturers label their products. Because there is no standardized terminology for labeling, many people assume that labels meant to indicate food quality (e.g. “best before”, “use by”) are indicators of food safety. All of these inconsistencies lead to consumers taking excessive precautions and throwing away safe, wholesome food.

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Composting at Martin’s Farm: Helping to Close the Loop on Food Waste

By Matt Brodeur, Green Business Services EcoFellow

Photos by Ben Coe, Green Business Support Specialist

Some of our team members at Center for EcoTechnology recently went on the road to take a tour of Martin’s Farm in Greenfield, MA. Martin’s Farm is a compost and mulch farm that takes food scraps and paper waste from a variety of businesses and institutions and turns it into a useful finished product.

martins-farm

Martin’s Farm is run by Adam Martin, who purchased the business and land from his father in 2014. Adam’s drive to sustain his father’s farm stems from his core belief that diverting wasted food from landfills and repurposing it is both the right thing to do and necessary going forward.

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Hello from the 2017 EcoFellows!

By Green Homes Marketing Fellow Aliza Heeren & Marketing Fellow Chiara Favaloro

We have had a busy two weeks getting settled at Center for EcoTechnology and are excited for the year to come.  We wanted to offer a little bit about our backgrounds and some of our favorite parts of the first two weeks:

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Massachusetts Recognized for Approach to Food Waste

This blog post from RecyclingWorksMA.com discusses a recent online article recognizing states taking a head-on approach to reducing the huge problem that is food waste in America.

A recent article in The Huffington Post recognizes four states, including Massachusetts, for innovative approaches to reduce wasted food. The article also highlights initiatives in Vermont, Ohio, and California.

In 2014, Massachusetts passed the Commercial Organics Waste Ban, which prohibits businesses and institutions that generate one ton or more of food waste per week from disposing that waste in the trash. Massachusetts also funds the RecyclingWorks program to help businesses and institutions comply with waste bans. RecyclingWorks offers an online database, a hotline, and on-site assistance to maximize recycling, reuse, and composting opportunities at businesses and institutions.

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