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.
Read the full story at Waste Dive and download the report.
The U.S. Department of Energy plans to invest in long-term research and development to improve existing plastic recycling technologies and invent new methods it hopes will cut U.S. energy consumption and prevent pollution.
The DOE recently published its Strategy for Plastics Innovation report, which calls for advancing certain chemical recycling technologies and improving mechanical recycling. It also calls for doing more with biodegradable and bio-based plastics technology and approaching R&D projects with a more intentional environmental justice focus.
Read the full story at The Hill.
In the U.S., most chemicals have been considered innocent until proven guilty. They’re entered into use with little to no information about their safety, and if suspicion of harm arises, federal agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must do complex risk assessments to prove people are exposed at high enough concentrations to warrant action. This can take years or decades per chemical, and there are tens of thousands of chemicals in commerce today.
Sound inefficient? Well, leading scientists agree. That’s why a more common-sense idea is gaining traction. The “essential-use approach” is quite simple in theory: If a chemical is harmful, or suspected of being harmful, it should be restricted to only those uses that are essential — and only until safer alternatives are developed. One can hardly find fault with that logic. Are antimicrobial socks or waterproof bathing suits essential enough to risk the use of harmful chemicals? Not likely. But we may need these chemicals in some surgical gowns or firefighting gear, at least until a safer alternative is developed.
This approach is being adopted by the E.U. and several U.S. states. However, in practice, how to apply it is still being hammered out. In a new paper, we join other scientists from government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and academia in providing specific recommendations for how the essential-use approach can be applied by governments and businesses wanting to remove harmful chemicals from commerce.
Read the full story at Waste360.
Food waste data collection has been largely inconsistent over the past few decades.
An increased focus on food insecurity and waste systems has improved data collection. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) doled out $10.2 million to fund pilot projects aimed at food waste reduction and composting in 2022.
With the addition of funding from governmental, private and public entities, researchers across the globe are now honing in on solutions to food waste reduction. One such project dedicated to identifying and emerging trends has been a two-year effort at The Ohio State University (OSU).
Read the full story at Oregon Business.
Between May and October in 2022, Milwaukie food producer Bob’s Red Mill participated in a case study with Pacific Coast Collaborative, the World Wildlife Fund, and sustainability consultant TripleWin Advisory, with the aim of generating employee-driven, ground-floor ideas for increasing company sustainability through a reduction in food waste.
According to the World Wildlife Fund food waste accounts for approximately 6%-8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions – the carbon dioxide equivalent of 32.6 million cars.
The study, published through the World Wildlife Fund in December, found 22% of employees submitted food waste reduction ideas. For the study, Bob’s Red Mill chose to implement a conveyor belt technique which reduced oat overflow. The result was a 70% reduction in wasted food per pound of food produced on the line, according to the study.
Julia Person, sustainability manager at Bob’s Red Mill, tells Oregon Business the employee response, as well at the results of the study were better than the company could have imagined, and explained how employee-driven sustainability initiatives will be priority for the company moving forward.
Read the full story at Food Business News.
Enhancing liquidation processes, reducing the impact of mycotoxins and extending the shelf life of products are just a handful of potential solutions for reducing food waste. ReFED also recommends farmers explore new arrangements with buyers to expand product specifications and enable better upstream communication. Building direct relationships with food recovery organizations and employing tools that track yield patterns also are avenues for mitigating waste at the farm level.
Opportunities exist for manufacturers to create more upcycled product lines using edible byproducts. ReFED also encourages manufacturers to consider reengineering processes and redesigning products to reduce waste during production and product line changeovers.
Read the full story at Waste Dive.
As fans flock back to large venues, many are seeing new or updated waste initiatives. Operators are experimenting with different collection systems, reusable cups, reverse vending machines and more.
Read the full story from Chalmers University of Technology.
Emissions from copper-based antifouling paints are a well-known environmental problem. As much as 40 percent of copper inputs to the Baltic Sea come from antifouling paints on ships and leisure boats. According to a new study, this is completely unnecessary. When the researchers compared copper-based antifouling paint with biocide-free silicone-based paint, they found that the environmentally friendly alternative was best at keeping the fouling at bay.
Read the editorial from the Chicago Sun-Times.
While neither the city’s Streets and Sanitation Department, nor the Illinois Department of Transportation is expected to completely cut out road salt, there should be a continual push to reduce the amount used by experimenting with more environmentally friendly products.