The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) was recently awarded the College/University Partner of the Year for the 2018 national WasteWise awards. WasteWise is a free program – sponsored nationally by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and in Massachusetts by the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) – designed to help private and public organizations work to reduce waste.
Each year, the EPA recognizes WasteWise partners demonstrating exemplary sustainability and waste prevention activities. The efforts by UMass Dartmouth and the other nine national WasteWise award winners collectively prevented over 356,000 tons of waste from entering landfills in 2018, saving the organizations over $19.6 million in avoided landfill tipping fees.
UMass Dartmouth Dining Services, Facilities Services, and the student sustainability team were recognized in 2018 for utilizing strategies across the Food Recovery Hierarchy to reduce food waste on campus while also fighting food insecurity in their community:
- UMass Dartmouth Dining Services employs Chartwells’ food waste reduction management programs to measure leftovers and food that cannot be repurposed, enabling the chef to more accurately forecast purchasing and food production needs for each meal.
- The Green Navigators, a group of student volunteers dedicated to sustainability on campus, helped implement “Project Clean Plate” in 2017. This initiative is aimed at raising awareness of the impact of post-consumer food waste by measuring plate waste, saving about 15,000 pounds of food waste each semester.
- With the help of student volunteers, UMass Dartmouth Dining Services donates unsold prepared foods to local liturgical ministries serving the homeless.
- In 2017, the Green Navigator student volunteers started packaging leftover food into meals for biweekly delivery to an on-campus food pantry as part of the Meals with Dignity program.
Food Scraps Diversion
- UMass Dartmouth collects food scraps to be used as animal feed, sending pre-consumer scraps to a local chicken farm and post-consumer scraps to a local dairy farm. In 2017, the university provided more than 62,000 pounds of food scraps for animal feed.
- In 2019, UMass Dartmouth Dining Services implemented a new composting program with a local farmer for coffee grinds and food pulper residue.
To learn more about the WasteWise program, or to register your organization, visit the RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) WasteWise webpage. In partnership with the MassDEP and U.S. EPA, RecyclingWorks hosts a biannual WasteWise Forum, which highlights relevant topics in recycling and food waste diversion. RecyclingWorks also offers free technical assistance to help business and institutions address food waste through source reduction, food donation, and food scraps collection for composting, animal feed, or anaerobic digestion. Call the RecyclingWorks hotline at (888) 254-5525 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.