Advocate for the education and empowerment of the greater Triangle Community to reimagine waste utilization
The Food Waste Rescue is currently focused on gathering information related to policies and regulations that impact food recovery and food waste prevention and recycling. We will be creating publicly accessible factsheets in summer 2019.
Future History Statement (what we are working towards):
As we start a new year, Orange County, North Carolina celebrates 3 years of innovative work in food waste reduction and recovery. In 2018, the Waste Recovery Workgroup was formed as a subset of the Orange County Food Council to address food waste prevention, recovery, and recycling. At the time many individuals and groups were working separately in various capacities to address the issue of food waste. Nationally, at the time, it was estimated that 40% of all food grown was ultimately wasted and not consumed. The workgroup saw an opportunity to create a “community of practice” around food waste comprised of businesses, government entities, and resource stakeholders.
Rather than simply create another static study/report outlining the problems surrounding food waste issues, which often quickly becomes outdated, the group proposed a continually-evolving structure and process wherein leaders and innovators in the field could share a platform and learn from one another. By crafting a vision, setting programmatic goals, and analyzing the food waste environment of the time, the group was able to propose a structure and process where everyone working directly or indirectly in the food waste area could participate and innovate in waste reduction.
Zero Waste Orange was launched and quickly attracted practitioners, resource stakeholders, entrepreneurs, and the attention of policy-makers and funders. Not only were existing business, institutional, and governmental entities learning from one another and collaborating on new ways to prevent and recover food waste but also several new companies were launched under the same goal. These included companies that produced juice, snack products, fertilizers, soil amendments, as well as logistics management services to reduce supply chain waste through predictive analytics and real-time dashboards.
In the past three years, Zero Waste Orange has effectively reduced food waste in the region to less than 25% and all indications point to this trend continuing downward to the goal of zero net waste. Additionally, this effect is spreading to the region and beyond through continually-evolving innovation and best management practices. A component, usually at the end of the food system, waste has become a leading focal point in food system innovation, economic development, and environmental quality.