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NERC in the News

New Guidance for Special Event Food Waste Diversion

Sustainable Plastics, the on-line publication of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance; August 31, 2010

Fun, sun, food, and yes, garbage! When people gather at special events waste is inevitably generated. Food scraps and soiled paper typically comprise a significant portion of waste from special events. Studies indicate that as much as half (or more) of the special event waste stream is compostable. Around the world a growing number of special event organizers are “greening their events.” Diversion of food scraps from the special event waste stream is an essential component for “going green” and approaching zero waste. Events of all types and sizes have successfully implemented food waste diversion.

The Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC) is nearing the completion of a three-year demonstration project for special event food waste diversion. Funded by an EPA New England Resource Conservation Challenge Grant, the project included conducting food waste diversion pilots in four states: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut. The pilots demonstrated different methodologies for designing and implementing diversion programs for pre- and post-consumer food, as well as compostable service ware, and soiled paper. The project addressed reuse (food donation) and diversion through composting.

Research and results from the diversion events contributed to a new guidance document: Guidance for Special Event Food Waste Diversion. This guidebook is a practical and detailed resource for developing and implementing organics diversion programs. The guidance document includes several case studies, sample contracts, signage, a food waste management plan template, volunteer training tips, a sample food waste vendor survey and introductory letter, and more. For additional information contact Athena Lee Bradley, NERC Projects Manager at athena@nerc.org or 802-254-3636.