The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized three New England organizations for reducing food waste.
Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut are national leaders in state policies to recover food and to manage food scraps and waste.
Food waste drops
In 2014, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut passed laws limiting food waste sent to landfills. Each law restricts the amount of waste coming from businesses, grocery stores, hospitality, colleges, universities, hospitals and food processors.
The first goal of all three states is to increase awareness of food waste and to increase the amount of food being recycled or composted. The bans are now one year in, and these three New England states have reduced food going to landfills.
Food-bank donations increase
The Vermont Food Bank has seen donations of surplus food increase 24 percent. Massachusetts has seen a significant jump in technical-assistance requests for diversion.
Recently, Rhode Island enacted an organics ban modeled after these three states.
A map done by all three states, showing food waste in each, became a model for a national EPA map on wasted food. In addition, Massachusetts set up a model technical-assistance program dedicated to working with businesses on food recovery and management.
New England — and its creative state policies, led by Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont — clearly is a leader in food recovery.
The organizations and specific honorees are:
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation – Cathy Jamieson, manager of the Solid-Waste Program;
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection – John Fischer, branch chief, Commercial Waste Reduction & Waste Planning Division;
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection – Chris Nelson, climate-change policy coordinator.
For more information about this and other recent EPA environmental awards, visit www.epa.gov/newsreleases/massachusetts-organizations-and-residents-recognized-epa-environmental-achievements-0.