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Food Waste & Organics

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This special SWANA Webinar features two great speakers presenting on the topic of food waste and organics. First, participants will hear from Jetta Antonakos as she speaks on Tacoma, Washington's Excellence Award-winning food waste recycling program. Then, the conversation will turn to Massachusetts where John Fischer of the Department of Environmental Protection will present on the state's ambitious Organics Action Plan. This webinar will be a great chance for participants to learn more about handling organics from a variety of perspectives. From planning to implementation, from East Coast to West Coast, and from state to city, this webinar will run the gamut.

Food Waste Recycling Made Easy: Tacoma's Brown Bucket Brigade
Jetta Antonakos, Sr. Environmental Specialist, City of Tacoma Environmental Services, Solid Waste Management, WA

Through this SWANA Webinar participants will learn the approach used by the City of Tacoma to create a vibrant, original food waste recycling program that was enthusiastically adopted by residents, achieved its participation and diversion goals, and resulted in a smooth transition for its organics processor. This model can be adapted in other communities preparing to collect food waste as well.

In many communities, food waste tops the list of what is thrown away. A waste composition study conducted in 2009 in Tacoma, Washington, estimated that food waste comprised a third of the residential waste stream. Similar percentages were found in the commercial sector. These numbers made it clear that the City should target food waste as a means of increasing diversion rates.

Not only did the numbers support this decision, but citizens were also seeking information on this topic. Because television and radio ads promoting food waste recycling by the neighboring county were aired over Tacoma airwaves, this information "seeped over" into Tacoma and created both demand and confusion. Distinctly different programs and collection systems in the neighboring jurisdictions were another barrier that had to be overcome in creating a program. These differing details presented a challenge and a communications opportunity.

How could the City of Tacoma capitalize on the building interest and enthusiasm? Clearly, food would be the next big category to target for diversion, and residents were ready. This webinar will explore how this eagerness, along with research and planning, were able to be transformed into an award-winning program.

Massachusetts Organics Action Plan
John Fischer├č Branch Chief of Commercial Waste Reduction and Waste Planning, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Massachusetts has established a goal to increase diversion of food waste and other organic materials from solid waste disposal by 350,000 tons on an annual basis by 2020. The Massachusetts Organics Action Plan was developed as a comprehensive set of strategies to achieve this goal. It brings together data and information, a supportive regulatory framework, an efficient and robust diversion and collection system, and extensive options and infrastructure for diverting food waste from disposal.

Through this webinar, participants will learn about Massachusetts strategies and how these may support and inform organics diversion projects in your jurisdiction or company. How this plan fits into the overall Solid Waste Master Plan for the state will also be discussed.

The Action Plan lays out the program and initiatives to be pursued in order to reach the set goals, as well as identifying barriers to achieving them. The research, stakeholder meetings, and discussions, as well as the Organics Task Force and Workgroups that went into the creation of this Plan will be discussed and the lessons learned from the process reviewed.

January 01, 2014
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