The Call For Papers is open for BioCycle’s 30th Anniversary West Coast Conference, April 4-7, 2016 in San Diego, California. BioCycle WEST COAST16, Advancing Organics Recycling, will address a broad range of topics related to composting, anaerobic digestion, compost utilization and markets, biogas markets, food recovery and recycling, best management practices for organics recycling operations, codigestion, feedstock and product quality, and positive public policies — especially those in California and other West Coast states. Go to www.BioCycleWestCoast.com for suggested presentation topics and to submit an abstract. Deadline for abstract submittals is December 31.
First National Food Waste Reduction Goal: 50% By 2030
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared the first national food waste reduction goal at 50 percent by 2030. “Let’s feed people, not landfills,” stated EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in announcing the goal. Noted USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack: “The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste.” To work towards the goal, the federal government will lead a new partnership with charitable and faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments to reduce food loss and waste in order to improve overall food security and conserve the nation’s natural resources.
The US Composting Council (USCC), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH), World Wildlife Fund, Green Sports Alliance, Forum for the Future, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health joined together to send a letter in support of the goal to the two agencies. The joint letter recommends EPA and USDA pursue several strategies to achieve the goal: Create database of baseline data; Support development of infrastructure and markets for composting and anaerobic digestion; Encourage more accurate quantification of food waste by businesses and federal agencies; and Create and lead a national implementation task force.
Preliminary data from research by ReFED, the “Rethink Food Waste Through Economics & Data,” show that the retail grocery, restaurant and institutional foodservice sectors of the food industry should be able to achieve a 25 to 30 percent reduction in food waste over the next 10 years. European nations have already adopted aggressive food scrap reduction goals. The ReFED Project process and outcomes will be presented in a session at the USCC’s COMPOST2016.
UK Food And Grocery Sector Beat The Goal
The food and grocery sector in the United Kingdom surpassed its waste reduction goal, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which released its second interim report of Courtauld Commitment 3 in late October. Signatories to the Commitment — more than 50 UK retailers, brands and manufacturers including Coca-Cola Enterprises, Unilever, AB InBev and Nestlé — have cut grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in manufacturing and retail operations by 80,000 metric tons since 2012. In 2013, as part of the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment, the signatories committed to reducing food and drink waste by three percent, against a 2012 baseline. The report shows a 3.2 percent reduction. Carbon dioxide emissions associated with packaging show a sustained positive reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 3.9 percent.
Sustainable Rural Recycling Prototype
Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in collaboration with Hastings Township, unveiled a prototype of a portable rural recycling center powered by renewable energy. The unit can be trucked to rural locations where curbside recycling pickup is not cost-efficient, as well as places where a central transfer station is too far away for some residents to make the trip. “What we’ve put together, in partnership with Hastings Township officials, is a portable recycling center that can be duplicated and placed in rural and remote locations,” explains Nick Baine, assistant professor of engineering at Grand Valley. “It’s efficient because it runs on solar power and recycled batteries, and minimizes operational costs because township staff can use remote cameras to see exactly when the recycling bins need to be emptied.”