With funding provided through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, EPA is developing a pair of grant programs that have the potential to significantly improve progress towards our nation’s goal to reduce 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 infrastructure for recycling.

The agency has engaged in several listening sessions and is requesting information from stakeholders as to local needs, best practices, and models to consider in their development of the programs. NRDC sees three elements as an important part of the grant program’s effectiveness.

1. Recycling Education and Outreach Programs Must Include Wasted Food and Organic Materials

Recycling Education and Outreach Programs must address wasted food, yard debris and organic materials in addition to traditional recycling materials. EPA estimates that 24 percent of landfilled and combusted material is food, more than any other single material in our trash. Much of this food is wasted at the household level – 37 percent of food waste occurred at the residential level in 2019. Therefore, it is imperative that waste reduction and recycling education and outreach programs address how to manage wasted food and organic material. We have numerous examples of how Denver Public Works’ Solid Waste Management comprehensively addresses organics and food waste education and outreach.

To read the full story, visit https://www.nrdc.org/experts/andrea-spacht-collins/recycling-education-grants-must-address-food-waste.
Author: Andrea Spacht Collins, NRDC