Composting and Waste-Free Lunches at Western Trails Elementary School, Carol Stream, IL

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Western Trails is a public elementary school in Carol Stream, IL, Community Consolidated School District 93, serving 386 students during the 2016-2017 school year. With assistance from the environmental education non-profit SCARCE, Western Trails completed a waste audit in February 2015. The results showed that food scraps comprised 82% of the school’s waste stream. With this statistic in hand, the school decided to begin composting to reduce the amount of food scraps being sent to landfill.

Wasted Food Means Wasted Nutrients

Read the full story from Johns Hopkins University.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future calculated the nutritional value of food wasted in the U.S. at the retail and consumer levels, shining a light on just how much protein, fiber and other important nutrients end up in the landfill in a single year.

Trying to Reverse Americans’ Rotten Record on Food Waste

Read the full story at Stateline.

Every day, American families throw out tons of spoiled food — or food they think is spoiled because they misunderstand “sell by” labels. Restaurants dispose of usable leftovers, and farmers toss imperfect produce.

In the United States, about 30 to 40 percent of all food is not eaten. About 95 percent of that wasted food, 38 million tons in 2014, ends up in landfills or incinerators, where it produces methane, a gas that is one of the most potent contributors to climate change.

To protect the environment, relieve hunger and save money, states are trying to reduce those numbers. California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont already restrict the amount of food and other organic waste (such as soiled and compostable paper and yard waste) that can be dumped in landfills. Maryland, New Jersey and New York are considering similar laws.

By the Numbers: The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste

Read the full story from the World Resources Institute.

We are all interested in seeing value for money – whether we are individuals, businesses or government. Now, a new report makes plain the very sound business case for reducing food loss and waste. The figures will turn the head of even the hardest-nosed budget director.

Business and Innovation in Food Waste

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Food that is thrown away winds up in landfills where it gives off methane, a greenhouse gas with a warming potential 23 times that of carbon dioxide. Food waste is a huge problem in the U.S. where 63 million tons of food are tossed every year at a cost of $218 billion. That wasted food uses 20 percent of America’s fresh water, fertilizer, cropland and landfill space.

The nonprofit organization ReFED released two new tools to help prove food waste reduction creates business opportunities and jobs, and to demonstrate the potential to simplify food date labeling.

ReFED’s Innovator Database focuses on startups founded around food waste innovation. It tracks over 400 commercial and nonprofit organizations that combat food waste while creating over 2,000 jobs, more than 200 of which have been founded in the last five years…

ReFED’s Policy Finder focuses on government and identifies opportunities to simplify state and federal food labeling regulations, which save consumers and businesses over $29 billion a year.

How Some Governments and Nonprofits are Working to Reduce Food Waste

Read the full story at Waste360.

Some local governments and nonprofits are addressing the issue of food waste through multipronged approaches, such as scalable consumer education programs and supports for businesses. Meanwhile, a new federal act has been introduced attempting to tackle all food waste types, with a spectrum of potential solutions.

University uses 1,250 gallons of bad mayonnaise for power

Read the full story at Treehugger.

Last December, Michigan State University was faced with quite the conundrum. Freezing temperatures compromised the stores of mayonnaise for its dining services — 500 2.5-gallon containers of the stuff. It wasn’t spoiled, but it wasn’t usable either.

Usually when food products are not quite right, the MSU Food Stores donates them to the local food bank, but because of the lower quality and the huge amount, that wasn’t an option. It was also too much mayo to just throw out and waste.

Luckily, the school has sustainability officers tasked with curbing waste that came up with a great idea. The university has an anaerobic digester that helps to power farm areas and buildings on the south side of campus.