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Rufus Chaney Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Rufus Chaney, a Senior Research Agronomist in the Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland, was awarded the Jerome Goldstein Lifetime Achievement Award at the US Composting Council’s (USCC) 2016 Conference in Jacksonville, Florida in January. The Award, created by the USCC in 2009 in honor of Jerome Goldstein, founder of BioCycle, is given to an individual who has achieved excellence in their field of study and who has made significant contributions to the field of environmental stewardship and natural resource sustainability in his or her lifetime. Dr. Chaney is a leading authority on the fate, food-chain transfer, and potential effects of soil microelements. BioCycle Editor Nora Goldstein had the honor of presenting the Jerome Goldstein Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Chaney at the USCC Conference.

BioCycle has reported for over three decades on his research related to plant uptake of metals and translocation to edible plant tissues; speciation of metals in plants and bioavailability to animals; development of hyperaccumulator crops to phytoextract and recycle metals in contaminated soils; bioavailability of lead and other metals in soils, biosolids and composts directly ingested by animals; and development of “tailor-made composts and biosolids” to remediate lead, zinc, cadmium, nickel and other element-contaminated soils, including soils in urban gardens. Dr. Chaney was among the researchers in the 1970s who developed the Beltsville aerated static pile composting method. His research on plant uptake of metals and their bioavailability was critical to development of the U.S. EPA’s 40 CFR Part 503 biosolids regulations.

New York Governor Predicts Organics Recycling Bill

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, in his annual State-of-the-State address to the State Assembly in January, made a point of saying he would work with the legislature in 2016 to pass a bill requiring large generators of food waste to donate edible food and compost or recycle what is not donated. This legislation would affect 1,200 generators, such as grocery stores, colleges, hospitals and restaurants, who account for an estimated 275,000 tons of food waste generated annually. “This will help to reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfills and reduce methane emissions while ensuring that hungry New Yorkers have improved access to quality food,” Gov. Cuomo told the legislators. “The state will phase in implementation of any program over several years to allow for state-supported development of food donation programs and recycling infrastructure. This sequencing will ensure excess food is donated to feed hungry New Yorkers, used to generate energy, repurposed as animal feed, or composted.”

Roadmap To Reduce U.S. Food Waste

The “Roadmap To Reduce U.S. Food Waste By 20 Percent,” officially released by ReFED on March 9, is the first national economic study on food waste to engage a multistakeholder group to develop a plan for action. ReFED — Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data — is a collaboration of over 30 business, government, investor, foundation, and nonprofit leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste. The Roadmap presents an achievable path to 20 percent reduction within a decade through 27 scalable solutions that would divert 13 million tons of food waste from landfills and on-farm losses. “Implementing the Roadmap is projected to generate 15,000 new jobs, double recovered food donations to nonprofits (18 million meals/year), reduce up to 1.5 percent of freshwater use (1.6 trillion gallons/year) and avoid nearly 18 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions,” notes the Roadmap’s Key Insights summary. “The Roadmap will require an $18 billion investment, less than a tenth of a penny of investment per pound of food waste reduced, which will yield an expected $100 billion in societal economic value over a decade.”

The Roadmap outlines priority actions for the following stakeholder groups: Farmers, manufacturers, restaurants and food service, grocery retailers, federal government, state and local governments, foundations, and investors. To develop the Roadmap, ReFED engaged Deloitte Consulting LLP and Resource Recycling Systems and collaborated closely with The Closed Loop Fund, MissionPoint Partners, Natural Resources Defense Council and an Advisory Board of stakeholders. Seed funding came from the The Fink Family Foundation. “We’ve been investing in food waste issues for the past decade and saw a real need to develop a roadmap as a way to galvanize additional funding and action,” notes Jesse Fink, a foundation trustee. The Roadmap is available at An article on the Roadmap findings will appear in an upcoming issue of BioCycle.

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