The Daily Item recently reported on actions being taken by Massachusetts businesses, institutions, and charitable organizations to reduce food waste in their communities. In many cases, these entities are working together to find synergies in reducing the amount of waste they produce, donating excess food, or diverting food scraps to other uses such as composting.
According to the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy, the most preferred method to preventing food waste is source reduction, which often involves accurately forecasting how much food will be needed, and preparing only that much. Creighton Pond Day Camp in Middleton, which is run by the Lynn Boys & Girls Club, partners with Lynn Public Schools. The camp takes an accurate inventory and orders lunches from the school district accordingly. The priority is to have no lunches left over, so any excess lunches are sent home with campers or given to staff.
Another means of reducing food waste is rescuing and donating edible food. Donating food that is wholesome but unsellable for various reasons, such as an approaching sell-by date or a company policy, keeps that food out of a landfill while also benefiting society. Panera Bread, for example, chooses only to sell the freshest bread and baked goods. Any of these items left over when the restaurant closes are donated to local food rescue organizations through the company-wide Day-End Dough-Nation policy. Panera Bread’s donation program benefits the Saugus United Parish Food Pantry, which also receives regular donations from local Stop & Shop and HoneyBaked Ham stores.
Whole Foods Market works closely with local food rescue organizations in Massachusetts and also has a comprehensive food waste composting program for inedible items such as expired produce. Store employees collect this organic material each day and send it to regional composting facilities. The finished compost product is donated or distributed to community gardens, used in landscaping, or sold in Whole Foods stores which generates additional revenue.
RecyclingWorks staff worked with Whole Foods Market to develop a comprehensive educational tool kit for their green team members from all Massachusetts Whole Foods stores. The green team members utilized this tool kit to educate staff at the stores they represent. For more on the comprehensive food donation program at one Massachusetts Whole Foods Market location, check out the RecyclingWorks Food Donation video and written case study.
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts assists businesses and institutions with recycling, reuse and food waste diversion. RecyclingWorks offers guidance on source reduction and food donation, and provides direct technical assistance to help businesses maximize waste diversion opportunities. To learn more about implementing or expanding a food waste diversion program, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.