Food Life Cycle: Effectiveness of Food Scrap Recycling Mandates & Landfill Bans

February 10, 2021 11:00 am — 12:30 pm
Webinar Only

An ELI and BioCycle Public Webinar

Between 30%-40% of food is wasted along the supply chain, from processing through in-home and dining-out consumption. Strategies to address food waste can save money for families and businesses, increase food security, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the environment. Preventing food waste and recovering edible food to feed hungry people are top priorities in addressing the problem. But for the food waste that inevitably remains, the priority is to divert it from landfill disposal — where it becomes a major source of GHG emissions — and recycle it through composting, animal feeding operations, or anaerobic digestion.

Significant potential for improvement in recycling exists: USEPA estimates that in 2018 over two-thirds of non-industrial food waste was disposed of through landfill or incineration. However, a major challenge is the lack of recycling facilities. To address a gap in organics processing infrastructure, six states — Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, California, and most recently, New York — as well as a number of cities, have adopted bans on landfill disposal of food waste, or recycling mandates. Inverting the logic in the movie Field of Dreams (“if we build it, they will come”), the implied logic of the bans is that if a supply of organic feedstock can be created, the infrastructure to process it will be built.

Has the experience with landfill bans and recycling mandates fulfilled this implicit promise? What types of recycling facilities have been brought online, and what has been the role of the public and private sectors in developing facilities? What additional policies were put in place to support implementation of the mandates and bans?

Join the Environmental Law Institute, BioCycle, and leading experts as they explore these questions and more as they seek solutions to reducing food waste and diverting it from landfills.

Carol A. Jones, Visiting Scholar, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
John Fischer, Branch Chief, Commercial Waste Reduction & Waste Planning, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Cathy Jamieson, Solid Waste Program Manager, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
Gena McKinley, Strategic Initiatives Division Manager, City of Austin
Kyle Pogue, Environmental Program Manager, CalRecycle


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