The Agency has participated in several hearings and solicits information from stakeholders regarding local needs, best practices and models to consider when developing programmes. The Natural Resources Defense Council sees three components as an important part of the effectiveness of the grant program.
With funding provided through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, the EPA is developing a pair of grant programs that have the potential to significantly improve progress toward our nation’s goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030. The first program focuses on improving the effectiveness of residential and community recycling programs through public education and outreach while the second grant program covers solid waste recycling infrastructure.
While recycling food waste An important strategy for keeping food away from landfills and incinerators, the greatest environmental, economic and social benefits are associated with reducing or preventing food from becoming waste. The EPA’s food waste management hierarchy highlights the need to reduce source above all other management strategies. Education and awareness plans must include the entire hierarchy and must above all emphasize strategies to prevent food from entering the waste stream. By emphasizing waste prevention, we can reduce the need for waste treatment infrastructure, expand landfill operation, and reduce pollution from incinerators.
Education and awareness materials on food waste prevention and recycling can be used by many existing resources. Mainly, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2020 Report A national strategy to reduce food waste at the consumer level Makes several recommendations relevant to the EPA grant program. For example, the report highlights several behavior change interventions to prevent food waste that can be leveraged through the Model Toolkit. Additionally, the report calls on federal agencies (including the Environmental Protection Agency) to provide strict guidelines for assessment and implementation. The Natural Resources Defense Council Save The Food’s Household Food Waste Prevention Campaign contains additional examples of prevention messages and resources that states and local governments have included in their recycling education programs across the country.
Recycle leftovers Education efforts—in vocabulary, construction, and pictures—should emphasize that recycling is for inedible food scraps and other compostable organic matter rather than safe, edible foods. Federal funding should be prioritized for projects that include source reduction as a key strategy and should support mechanisms for measuring the effects and benefits of efforts focused on prevention.
In order to be a practical and useful model States, tribes, local governments, non-profit organizations, and the private sector, the toolkit should include guidance and information relevant to ethnically, culturally, linguistically, socially, economically and regionally diverse audiences. The toolkit should include not only best practices for collecting and processing recycled materials, but also best practices for educating communities towards sustainable behaviors. Training modules should recognize and be tailored to the unique needs of diverse audiences, including those in multifamily housing units and other community environments with particular recycling challenges. The toolkit should include descriptions of how the models are adapted to reflect diversity such as different cultural practices, multiple languages, and local priorities. We have outstanding examples of how multiple cities have adapted food waste awareness campaigns. The grant program and modular toolkit should stimulate curricula that take a multi-pronged approach to dealing with waste, addressing social, economic, racial, health and environmental impacts at the same time by recognizing that local knowledge will better inform community needs.
Natural Resources Defense Council He sees a great opportunity to address the interrelated issues of climate, environmental, economic and social justice in the Recycling Education Grants Program and the Model Program Toolkit. With this important funding, the EPA can help state, local and tribal governments improve education and awareness on how to prevent food from becoming waste and how to properly dispose of inedible food scraps that can be recycled instead into a nutrient-rich soil amendment instead of generating it. Greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants when buried or burned. Food waste treatment and food waste recycling are fundamental to improving municipal solid waste management, long-term climate goals, and a host of environmental, economic and social benefits.