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Tompkins County Receives Food Waste Prevention Grant from NYS

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Tompkins County Receives Food Waste Prevention Grant from NYS

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Tompkins County Solid Waste Division has received a nearly $15,000 waste reduction grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I). The grant was accepted by unanimous vote at the February 17th meeting of the County Legislature.

The project – Save the Food: Cooking Up a Food Waste Prevention Campaign for Tompkins County – will further the County’s goal of 75% waste diversion by the end of 2016.

“Food waste source reduction offers a tremendous opportunity for pollution prevention, resource conservation and sustainable materials management,” said Solid Waste Manager Barbara Eckstrom. “By offering potential cost savings to numerous stakeholders, we feel this project provides a triple bottom line approach to addressing an important topic affecting communities across New York State.”

“Our goal is to reduce residential food waste before it is generated,” according to Kat McCarthy, Waste Reduction and Recycling Specialist. “In 2011, the EPA reported a staggering 96% of the 36 million tons of food waste generated in the U.S. was discarded as trash, a portion of which could have been used to feed the approximate 14% of New Yorkers who are food insecure.”

Elements of the Tompkins County project will include development of an educational module for classroom presentations and tours and a community screening and panel discussion of the video “Just Eat It.” A social media campaign will also be employed to inspire residents to take simple steps to reduce waste. At the County’s food scraps recycling drop spots, tools and tips will be shared to help participants save money on shopping trips while watching their waste.

Tompkins County Solid Waste intends to collaborate with local organizations such as the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) to implement the grant. For more on the Community Grant Program of the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute, go to www.nysp2i.rit.edu.                                             

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 Corporations 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.