Upcoming Food Waste Training & Toolkit Piloting Opportunities

Several upcoming training opportunities are available for those interested in zero waste, specifically the reduction of waste in food service operations.


The US EPA Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) program will present a webinar on January 15, 2015, entitled “Food Waste Reduction Alliance, a Unique Industry Collaboration.” The webinar will take place from 12:00 to 1:30 PM CST. Online registration is available.


As defined by EPA, sustainable materials management (SMM) is “a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire lifecycles. It represents a change in how our society thinks about the use of natural resources and environmental protection. By examining how materials are used throughout their lifecycle, an SMM approach seeks to:

  • Use materials in the most productive way with an emphasis on using less;
  • Reduce toxic chemicals and environmental impacts throughout the material life cycle;
  • Assure we have sufficient resources to meet today’s needs and those of the future.”

The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) is a collaborative project of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (representing food and beverage companies), the Food Marketing Institute (representing food retailers), and the National Restaurant Association (representing the food service industry), working to reduce food waste generation, increase food donations to the needy, and to divert unavoidable food waste from landfills through recycling.


In addition to the webinar overview of the FWRA, there will be a series of free webinars to guide users through the waste assessment and reduction process presented in the Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit (available at http://www.epa.gov/foodrecovery/tools/). All are welcome to participate. The schedule for that series is below. Click on a webinar title to register online.


US EPA Region 9 is also inviting food service facilities (restaurants, cafeterias, grocers, and other commercial and institutional kitchens) in California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands to pilot the toolkit. Along with the free webinar series, pilot participants are offered one-on-one technical assistance from an EPA team member; the opportunity to participate in peer groups to troubleshoot the tracking process; the chance to present in future EPA webinars; and the ability to jumpstart or enhance participation in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. Learn more about the opportunity to pilot the Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit at http://go.usa.gov/MuGA.


Questions can be directed to Amanda Hong at hong.amanda@epa.gov. Thanks to Amanda for sharing information on these opportunities.


About Joy Scrogum

Joy is a Sustainability Specialist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has worked on developing & maintaining online resources for the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable since 2001. She also currently coordinates the Sustainable Electronics Initiative & works on Zero Waste Illinois projects, including the Illini Gadget Garage and the Green Lunchroom Challenge. Key past projects include coordinating the International Sustainable Electronics Competition, developing & teaching ENG 498 "Sustainable Technology: Environmental & Social Impacts of Innovations," & Greening Schools, which focused on making K-12 facilities & curricula more sustainable.
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