Each spring the Washington, Oregon and British Columbia chapters hold a joint Northwest Symposium. SCS Engineers never misses the opportunity to join other solid waste industry professionals from a wide variety of specialized fields. We look forward to seeing you at booth 16. The NW Regional Symposium is a great conference to exchange information and learn from technical experts, such as these speakers:
Michelle Leonard, Vice President & National Expert on Solid Waste Planning and Recycling
Food Recycling and Rescue – Los Angeles County’s Three-Pronged Approach
Ms. Leonard has over 30 years of experience in environmental consulting and project management, with an emphasis on Sustainable Materials Management, including solid waste management planning and facilities. She regularly shares her expertise with associations and communities interested in her work.
Shane Latimer, Ph.D., CSE, Project Director
Using Laser Technology to Control Birds at Landfills – Preliminary Results at a Southern Oregon Landfill
Dr. Shane Latimer, CSE, is an ecologist and an environmental planner with over 20 years’ experience in environmental assessment, planning and permitting. He specializes in projects that are often large, complex, or controversial, and involve a combination of land use, environmental permitting, and other constraints.
Tracie Onstad Bills, Senior Project Manager
Residential Food Waste Prevention Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) Pilot Study
Ms. Onstad-Bills has over 20 years of materials management experience, including working for a hauler, a county government, and a non-profit; she also has over 10 years with materials management consulting firms. She has provided commercial sector materials flow assessments, green events project management, construction and demolition (C&D) research, and recycling and waste management technical support to government agencies and businesses.
Reprint of USEPA Press Release dated January 21, 2020
LAS VEGAS (Jan. 21, 2020) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the addition of six new U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions. These champions are U.S. businesses and organizations pledging to reduce food loss and waste in their own operations by 50 percent by the year 2030. New champions in 2019 and announced today include: Browns Superstores, Compass Group, Giant Eagle, Hello Fresh, Las Vegas Sands, and The Wendy’s Company.
“Food products make up 22 percent of municipal solid waste sent to our nation’s landfills annually and working with my partners at USDA, we are challenging American businesses and consumers to reduce food waste,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The commitments made by these organizations in joining the Champions program will help propel the U.S. one step closer towards meeting the national goal of reducing food waste and loss 50 percent by 2030.”
“Businesses across the country are stepping up to reduce food loss and waste,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We applaud the manufacturers, grocers, restaurants, and other businesses that have made a commitment to reduce food loss and waste in their operations, and we call on more businesses to become U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.”
“The elimination of food waste has been a critical component of our Sands ECO360 sustainability plan,” said Las Vegas Sands Senior Vice President of Global Sustainability Katarina Tesarova. “While this is definitely an environmental issue, it is also a social and economic issue. Not only does wasted food end up in the landfill, but there are other implications as well. For instance, we continue to focus on new ways to get excess unserved food to those in the community who are food insecure.”
The six new Champions join the list of existing 2030 Champions, which include: Ahold Delhaize, Aramark, Blue Apron, Bon Appetit, Campbells, ConAgra, Farmstead, General Mills, Hilton, Kellogg’s, Kroger, Marley Spoon, MGM Resorts, Mom’s Organic Market, Pepsico, Sodexo, Sprouts, Unilever, Walmart, Wegmans, Weis, Whitsons and Yum! Brands.
Cutting food waste in half by 2030 will take a sustained commitment from everyone. Success requires action from the entire food system including the food industry, and the U.S. 2030 Food Loss and Waste Champions group can help lead the way. Details on becoming a U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion can be found at www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste and www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food.
Businesses not in a position to make the 50 percent reduction commitment may be interested in participating in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge: https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-challenge-frc. State, local, tribal and territorial governments interested in making a commitment to food waste reduction can sign the Winning on Reducing Food Waste pledge.
Facts about food waste:
EPA estimates that more food (over 75 billion pounds) reaches landfills and combustion facilities than any other material in everyday trash, constituting 22% of discarded municipal solid waste. [Waste association stats are higher at 30%]
Landfills are the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States.
Ongoing Federal Efforts:
EPA has taken significant measures to highlight the need to reduce food waste nationally. In October 2018, EPA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and USDA signed a formal agreement to align efforts across the federal government to educate consumers, engage stakeholders, and develop and evaluate solutions to food loss and waste.
The agencies launched “Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month” in April 2019 with a Presidential Message from President Trump encouraging public action and participation from all sectors.
During the month of April 2019, Administrator Wheeler and leadership from USDA and FDA convened a summit at EPA bringing state and local stakeholders together to form partnerships with leading food waste reduction non-governmental organizations. At this event, over 30 governmental organizations signed onto a new pledge in which state, local, tribal and territorial government organizations solidified interest in working with the federal government to continue to build upon existing efforts back home to reduce food loss and waste. Also at the summit, EPA announced $110,000 in funding for food waste management and infrastructure projects (to expand anaerobic digestion capacity) in Wisconsin, Vermont, and Washington. EPA also opened a Small Business Innovation Research Grants program solicitation in 2019, which included “preventing food waste” as a topic.
NRDC’s Estimating Quantities and Types of Food Waste is a study and report based on studies performed in the cities of Denver, Nashville, and New York. The main objectives were to assess the amount of food wasted across the residential, industrial, commercial and institutional sectors; to determine why the food was wasted, and to assess the amount of edible food that could have potentially been donated to those populations in need.
Many cities are collecting data and performing waste characterizations to begin reducing the amount of food wasted and finding inedible food that can be composted or used in industries. Estimating a baseline of the amounts currently being discarded is a critical first step in the process. Without understanding basic information about how much food is being wasted and where that waste occurs, assessing progress and developing plans becomes overly challenging.
The report shows us what percentage of foods are inedible and edible, along with the most common foods wasted by residents (coffee, apples, bread, and milk). At the household level, total food wasted was 8.7 pounds per household week, and edible food wasted was 6.0 pounds per household per week. Smaller households have a larger percentage of wasted food too. Not surprising is that awareness of food waste can save consumers money, energy, and time.
Ideally, plans follow the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy in prioritizing prevention and rescue over other strategies. Developing detailed assessments can provide insight on food wasted by sector, by discard destination, by loss reason, and by food type, including breakdowns of edible, avoidable, and foods that can be rescued. Plans and studies provide additional data that can help in structuring effective interventions to reduce wasted food.
Similarly, few cities have tried to estimate how much surplus food beyond what is currently being donated could potentially be rescued and directed to people in need. Data on these unexploited resources clarifies the scale and sources of rescuable food and, along with information on what types of surplus food are currently needed in the community, can inform strategies for increasing participation in food donation efforts and bolstering food rescue infrastructure. It also highlights what portion of the city’s “meals gap” could potentially be addressed through increased food donation from pre-consumer surplus. See NRDC’s report Modeling the Potential to Increase Food Rescue: Denver, New York City and Nashville for more information on conducting a food rescue assessment.
Donation programs for institutions can be found online. Food Donation Collection is one. Finding a program to take residential pre-consumer surplus are usually limited to non-perishables which is why your city or community is supporting organized local programs such as Arlington Food Assistance Centers.