Program at RIT creates new tools to help municipalities reduce wasted food

Apr 14, 2021

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Credit Anna Shvets

Studies show that close to 100 million tons of food goes to waste in the U.S. each year. A state program on the RIT campus has developed a toolkit to help reduce food waste in municipalities throughout the state.

Charles Ruffing is the director of the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I). He says the toolkit provides strategies to design and implement a food waste recycling program.

The toolkit is divided in three parts, first identifying the goal the community has, the second part focuses on how to secure funding and engage stakeholders and the third part defines how to run a small pilot. 

Ruffing says the institute helped the village of Clifton Springs develop a community composting pilot program in 2019. The village is currently reviewing the pilot to scale a larger program in the future.

Ruffing says that food waste contributes to climate change and wasting natural resources like water and energy. And he says reducing food waste could be a part of the city of Rochester’s effort to become a climate-smart community.

“Even if municipalities aren’t thinking about it at this point, this can help show them how they can begin to take steps along this way,” Ruffing says. “I think that as more and more people become aware about all the waste involved people will call upon their municipalities to try to do something about it.”