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Filmgoers Learn Shocking Truth Behind Food Waste. Panelists Urge Community to Shop and Eat Smarter

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Filmgoers Learn Shocking Truth Behind Food Waste. Panelists Urge Community to Shop and Eat Smarter

Friday, April 10, 2015

Did you know that nearly 40% of all food produced in North America is never eaten? Or that 97% of food waste in the United States ends up in the landfill or incinerated?

These were just two of the shocking revelations in the film documentary Just Eat It, shown April 9 as part of this year’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. The screening and panel discussion that followed is one component of a food waste prevention campaign by Tompkins County Solid Waste Division with support of a nearly $15,000 grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I). The project will further the County’s goal of 75% waste diversion by the end of 2016.

“The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is pleased to support Tompkins County in bringing Just Eat It to FLEFF,” said Anahita Williamson, director of NYSP2I. “We’re especially excited the film focused on reducing residential food waste and engages residents and community members in the effort to confront this important environmental challenge.”

“Our goal is to reduce food waste before it is generated,” said Kat McCarthy, Tompkins County’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Specialist. “We hope to show people simple,
accessible strategies that can help them save money, conserve resources and reduce waste, while making food more available to those in need."

Meaghan Sheehan Rosen, the Program Coordinator at Friendship Donations Network, reminded the audience to think of food waste in a different light. “Friendship Donations Network has been rescuing food in Tompkins County since 1988,” she said. “Our network of volunteers collects over 1,000 pounds of food every day from stores, farms and other food donors and distributes it to hunger relief programs serving 2,000 people weekly. There is still a lot of good food being wasted in our community and our mission is to recover as much as possible."

Other elements of the Tompkins County food waste prevention campaign include development of an educational module for classroom presentations and tours, a social media campaign to inspire residents to take simple steps to reduce waste, and tools and tips for participants at the County’s food scraps recycling drop spots to help them save money on shopping trips while watching their waste.

For more on the Community Grant Program of the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute, go to


About the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute

NYSP2I is a partnership between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Rochester Institute of Technology and its Golisano Institute for Sustainability, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the State University of New York at Buffalo and Clarkson University, with a statewide reach. NYSP2I also works with the state’s 10 Regional Technology Development Centers to help disseminate data and strategy.

NYSP2I’s goal is to make the state more sustainable for workers, the public, the environment and the economy through pollution prevention. Pollution prevention is reducing or eliminating waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and reusing materials rather than putting them into the waste stream on techniques, and re-using materials rather than putting them into the waste stream.