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Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Web Academy Webinar: Cupertino CA and Cambridge MA: Tips for How Communities Can Successfully Engage Businesses to Divert Food Scraps

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July 24, 2014, 1:00 - 2:00 pm (EST)

The webinar will feature communities from opposite coasts -- Cupertino, California (pop 60K) and Cambridge, Massachusetts (pop. 106K). In both communities, actions taken by the cities incentivized food scrap diversion that led to successful diversion programs.

In December, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented Cupertino with a Food Recovery Challenge national award for innovation in reducing food waste. Cupertino teamed up with its waste hauler, Recology South Bay, and EPA’s Pacific Southwest office to conduct outreach to and assist local grocers and markets recover food scraps. One of the local grocers, Marina Food, is now diverting an estimated 520 tons of food scraps annually from entering landfills. And between 2011 and 2012, Cupertino experienced an increase of over 2,000 tons of food scraps diversion, 75 percent originating from the commercial sector. The City has also leveraged its outreach to achieve other benefits, such improved stormwater compliance, by helping businesses maintain cleaner trash bins through use of separate compost bins for food scraps and associated packaging.

The City of Cambridge has been long pursued diversion of organics from the waste stream motivated by their goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reducing solid waste. Their efforts have helped prepare for the upcoming October 1, 2014 Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) solid waste disposal ban that would apply to businesses and institutions disposing of one ton or more of food scraps per week. In 2006 the city sought to implement food scraps diversion at its public schools but there was virtually no collection infrastructure. To build the route density, the city partnered with a local hauler, Save That Stuff, to implement a food-scrap collection program for businesses which today also services eight of the city’s 13 public schools and 70+ businesses. In 2013, 50+ tons of food scraps were collected from the participating schools and city buildings, and 60_ tons were collected from four drop-off locations for residents that accept food scraps. Residents also can arrange for bicycle pickup of food scraps by local companies including Metro Pedal Power and Bootstrap Compost.

In April, 2014, Cambridge began a 500-800 household residential pilot for curbside collection. The City is hauling for the curbside residential pilot, and to date, participating households are averaging almost 7 pounds per week of food scraps, 97 percent of all green bins are set at the curb weekly and the City estimates an 85 percent capture rate of food scraps in the trash at participating households.

YouTube logo imageVideo: Cupertino CA & Cambridge MA: Tips for How Communities Can Successfully Engage Businesses to Divert Food Scraps Exit

Reducing Food Waste in Cupertino

EPA has recognized the City of Cupertino with EPA’s 2013 Food Recovery Challenge Award for Innovation. Cupertino teamed up with its waste hauler, Recology, and EPA's Food Recovery Challenge program to work with local grocers and markets, including Marina Food to reduce food waste and divert to composting.

In 2010, Cupertino and Recology agreed to add a stipulation to its franchise agreement to keep 75% of community-generated waste out of landfills by 2015, a 10% increase from 2010 levels. Reducing food waste is a key component of this plan. More than 2,000 tons of food waste has been diverted from landfills since the city amended its franchise agreement. Also, the city has made significant progress toward its 75% goal and has seen a 6% increase of material reused, recycled, or composted, rather than sent to landfills. Marina Food alone will divert an estimated 520 tons of food waste annually from entering landfills

Cupertino's innovative approaches to reducing waste provide a model for other communities and grocers to follow.

YouTube logo imageVideo: Marina Foods Food Recovery Challenge Award Event Exit

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Cheri Donnelly, Environmental Programs Manager, Cupertino Public Works Department, Cupertino, CA:
Cheri joined the City in March 2008 and is responsible for both the stormwater management compliance program as well as the integrated waste management and diversion (recycling and composting) programs.

Randi Mail, Recycling Director, Cambridge, MA:
Randi joined the City in 2002 working to encourage people to consume less, reuse and donate materials, and recycle what cannot be eliminated or re-used. She oversees weekly curbside recycling collection that serves 45,000 households, City buildings, and schools; operation of a Recycling Center open to residents and small businesses; public education efforts.

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