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.
Food Scraps Diversion Guide
Shomita presented on CET’S involvement in food waste diversion programs, particularly those occurring in schools. One key topic was CET’s work with the West Hartford Department of Public Works (DPW). The DPW saw the opportunity for the West Hartford school district to start diverting food scraps in all of their schools. The West Hartford DPW contacted CET to receive technical assistance to divert food scraps from the school district. CET created a Food Scraps Diversion guidance document which outlined roles and responsibilities for both the DPW and the school district to take in diverting food scraps.
THE GREEN TEAM
CET administers an environmental education program for K-12 schools on behalf of MassDEP. THE GREEN TEAM is an interactive educational program that empowers students and teachers to help the environment through waste reduction, recycling, composting, energy conservation, and pollution prevention. While THE GREEN TEAM work occurs solely in Massachusetts, online resources such as lesson plan photos and case studies are applicable and available for all states and schools to access.
The RecycleCT Foundation has a school grant program available, aimed at Connecticut K-12 schools. The goal of the grant is to fund efforts that foster greater understanding of and promote action in waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, and/or anaerobic digestion. Amounts of $500-$1500 can be received and the application deadline is November 21, 2018 at 5:00 PM EST. If you are a public, charter, or magnet school in CT and feel you would be eligible for this grant, apply now!
Wasted Food Solutions
CET provides wasted food diversion assistance to schools, businesses, service providers, and policy makers throughout the region. Wasted Food Solutions contains a number of services such as a toolbox with guidance documents and case studies which show how businesses have successfully implemented strategies for diverting wasted food. The website also has state-specific resources from entities such as the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Harvard Law Food and Policy Clinic.
CET is excited to be involved in so many waste diversion programs. We can’t wait to see how these programs will continue to develop in years to come!