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EPA awards more than $230,000 for recycling and food waste prevention projects in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio

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CHICAGO (Nov. 10, 2021) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced four grants totaling $230,856 to fund projects in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio to prevent wasted food and divert waste from landfills. The recipients are: University of Illinois at Chicago ($59,995); Make Food Not Waste in the Detroit area ($60,000), Michigan Recycling Coalition ($60,000) and the Center for Ecotechnology in Ohio ($50,861).

“Preventing and recycling food waste saves resources and helps reduce the emission of greenhouse gases,” said EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore. “These projects highlight how local collaboration can create a stronger and more resilient recycling system and help combat climate change.”

“We are excited to partner with EPA’s Great Lakes Region to support research on solid waste management,” said Principal Investigator and Director of UIC’s Institute for Environmental Science and Policy Professor Tom Theis. “In the United States, we recover and recycle only one-third of waste generated, the rest ending up in landfills or incinerators. Blockchain technology has the potential to streamline operations, lower costs, expand markets, and accommodate the needs of buyers and sellers as wastes are processed.

Using EPA funding, UIC-Chicago will partner the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, Illinois, to develop and demonstrate Blockchain Environmental Asset Tracking to manage solid waste and recyclable materials.

“We are thrilled to partner with EPA’s Great Lakes Region to support food waste reduction in Detroit restaurants,” said Danielle Todd, Executive Director of Make Food Not Waste. “Restaurants tend to be a significant source of wasted food. By systematically reviewing operations, restaurants can easily zero in on where the waste is occurring and what steps can be taken to end it. This program will be a huge benefit to restaurants’ bottom lines and the environment.”

Make Food Not Waste will use EPA funding for one-on-one kitchen assessments and interventions at restaurants to cut costs and reduce food waste.

“We are pleased to partner with EPA’s Great Lakes Region to deliver a toolkit that will help local government decision-makers make the case for recycling and increase manufacturer’s access to more recycled materials,” said Kerrin O’Brien, Executive Director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition.

The Michigan Recycling Coalition will use EPA funds to develop tools to improve connections between communities, recyclers, and manufacturers that use recycled materials. 

“We are very excited to continue our partnership with EPA’s Great Lakes Region to address wasted food,” said John Majercak, President of the Center for EcoTechnology. “We are poised to leverage our experience and marketplace knowledge to help Ohio businesses implement even more effective wasted food prevention, diversion and donation strategies, and capture cost-savings. We look forward to the numerous social, environmental, and economic benefits of this important work.” The Center for EcoTechnology will use EPA funds to expand food waste prevention and diversion measures in institutional kitchens, grocery stores, and colleges. Efforts will also focus on developing tools to promote food waste prevention, and bolstering food recovery, donation, and processing capacity.

For more on EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program:

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Author: Region 05

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