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. Diverting food waste from disposal is a priority and can be accomplished by preventing waste in the first place, donating to feed people and animals, or sending it to organics processing sites like compost or Anaerobic digestion.
Rhode Island is just one state prioritizing wasted food diversion from disposal and the recovery of edible food. The RI Food Strategy, Relish Rhody, includes goals to reduce food insecurity to less than 10% and divert wasted food from landfills. According to this report, about 35% of all waste disposed of at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation’s (RIRRC) landfill is organic material.
With support from 11th Hour Racing’s grant program, funded by The Schmidt Family Foundation, CET provides wasted food assistance to many businesses across the ocean state to successfully and cost-effectively implement strategies to address their wasted food. The grant is part of Healthy Soils Healthy Seas Rhode Island, a composting program that aims to inspire long-lasting environmentally responsible behavior necessary to improve ocean health. To learn more about the Healthy Soils, Healthy Seas program, watch this brief video on our blog.
CET is spotlighting businesses and institutions across Rhode Island that are seeking strategies to reduce wasted food.
Diego’s Middletown practices sustainable food waste reduction strategies such as cross utilizing ingredients, turning scraps into stock, cooking food to order, and controlling portion sizes.
Midtown Oyster Bar & Surf Club improved their overall waste management systems to better incorporate food waste diversion into existing practices and were able to compost 34 tons of food scraps in one year.
Atlantic Capes Fisheries has approached with fervor the difficult challenge of diverting clam shells from the disposal, finding several solutions only for smaller quantities than they produce such as local landscapers who can use crushed shells in driveways.
Barrington Farm School donates about 30% of its produce to a local food pantry and composts food scraps from the entire district on site.
CET, Clean Ocean Access, and Zero Waste Providence (ZWP) recently collaborated to host a series of events for Rhode Island Restaurants. Each event highlighted success stories from local establishments that have implemented prevention, donation, and composting programs. Sin Desserts, who spoke at the second event, composts back-of-house food waste with Harvest Cycle Compost and partners with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine and Too Good To Go to recover surplus edible food.
Feeling inspired? Contact CET’s team to request no-cost waste assistance. As part of this process, CET may conduct an on-site or virtual meeting to learn more about your business and your unique needs, and will then provide a customized report with recommendations. Get started today!