Federal lawmakers reintroduce bills calling for billions in food waste recycling and prevention grants

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Two bills meant to provide billions of dollars in funding for food waste prevention efforts and support composting projects have been reintroduced in Congress.

The Zero Food Waste Act would offer U.S. EPA grants over ten years for projects that divert or prevent food waste or gather data about food waste practices. The Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion Of Sustainable Techniques Act (COMPOST Act) would offer grants and loans for both large-scale and smaller-scale composting infrastructure. 

After 10 years of advocacy, all District 65 lunchrooms begin composting

Read the full story in the Daily Northwestern.

At the end of lunch in every Evanston/Skokie School District 65 school, students sort their waste into landfill, recycling and compost bins, stacking their compostable trays on the side.

Making composting part of students’ daily routines was no small feat. After a decade of work, District 65 Sustainability Coordinator Karen Bireta said all buildings in the district began composting in December.

During the last academic year, students composted 77,955 pounds of food, eliminating more than 34 metric tons of carbon emissions by keeping waste out of landfills.

After working to rapidly expand the program over the past several months, Bireta said she is excited to see the new composting system’s impact on students within and beyond the lunchroom.

On Chicago’s South Side, a unique bioenergy project helps fuel community connections

Read the full story at Energy News Network.

A biodigester fueled by food waste in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood is the centerpiece of a larger development to grow healthy food and economic opportunities.

USCC takes stance on PFAS

Read the full story at Biocycle.

“The US Composting Council (USCC), on behalf of an industry facing detrimental economic impacts from Per- fluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS) found in all consumer products, is calling for bans on use of the chemicals and immediate research to study their impacts on plant uptake,” states the industry association’s positioning and guidance statement on PFAS issued on November 29.

Technology, logistics make food-scrap composting in Wisconsin a challenge

Read the full story at Wisconsin Watch.

The University of Wisconsin and the city of Madison have struggled to turn tons of cast-off food into soil. Three Madison companies fill some of the gap.

US cities are recycling trees and poop to make compost

Read the full story in Wired.

Wood and biosolids from water treatment plants can be used to improve the soil—and keep remaining trees healthy.

Compost heat recovery spawns aquaponics enterprise

Read the full story at Biocycle.

The need to switch from windrows to aerated static piles to manage odors prompted Michigan landscape supply company to take advantage of the opportunity to recover heat.

ISTC Technical Assistance Program seeks project partner for USDA composting and food waste reduction grant

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP) recently released a funding opportunity announcement for their Composting and Food Waste Reduction (CFWR) cooperative agreements. Applications are due by September 1, 2022.

This program provides financial assistance to municipalities, school districts, counties, local governments, or tribal governments (State-designated Indian Tribes, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments) for composting and food waste reduction pilot programs. While applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that meet more than one of the objectives below (inclusion of multiple objectives will be considered when ranking proposals), OUAIP will accept proposals that address at least one of the following:

  • Generate compost
  • Increase access to compost for agricultural producers
  • Reduce reliance on, and limit the use of, fertilizer
  • Improve soil quality
  • Encourage waste management and permaculture business development
  • Increase rainwater absorption
  • Reduce municipal food waste; and
  • Divert residential and commercial food waste from landfills.

In addition to meeting one or more of the above purposes applicants are encouraged to align their project proposals to address priorities on environmental justice, racial equity, climate, investment in disadvantaged communities, and climate smart agricultural practices. Priority will be given for each of the following elements that are included in a project:

  • Anticipate or demonstrate economic benefits for the targeted community;
  • Incorporate plans to make compost easily accessible to agricultural producers, including community gardeners, school gardens, and producers;
  • Integrate food waste reduction strategies, including innovative food recovery efforts such as, but not limited to, food gleaning, storage, and preservation techniques; and
  • Include a robust plan that describes collaboration with multiple partners.

Eligible entities should collaborate with two or more partner organizations on their CFWR pilot project. Non-eligible entities may be partners on a project.

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) seeks an eligible organization to be the lead applicant on a collaborative proposal. ISTC’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) staff will provide support on the cooperative agreement through zero waste technical assistance, education, and outreach. Contact TAP to learn more about this partnership opportunity.

The unlikely ascent of New York’s compost champion

Read the full story in the New York Times.

An ad led to Domingo Morales falling in love with compost. A windfall is helping him spread the word.

A primer on composting cannabis residuals

Read the full story at Biocycle. [Part 1][Part 2]

The rapid legalization of cannabis in the U.S. has created a new urgency to compost cannabis residuals versus disposing of them in landfills and incinerators.