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September 21, 2016

Universal recycling law boosts fresh food donations

Universal recycling law boosts fresh food donations

Vermont Foodbank and partners see 40 percent increase
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and the Vermont Foodbank announced Tuesday, Sept. 13, a 40 percent increase in food donations in 2016, topping the 25-30 percent increase seen in 2015. The announcement comes during September’s Hunger Action Month. It also confirms that healthier, fresher foods like fruits, vegetables and frozen meat, are making their way into refrigerators and onto plates of Vermonters in need.
“The energy around these new partnerships is contagious. Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law is making lives better, improving nutrition and choice at food shelves, and reducing waste at landfills,” said Deb Markowitz, ANR secretary.
The Vermont Foodbank started its Fresh Rescue Program in 2014 when it faced challenges managing the growing amounts and types of donated food. Hannaford Supermarkets, for example, had perishable food to donate that was difficult for the Foodbank to retrieve because of its volume, location, and the frequency of pickups needed. At the same time, Act 148, Vermont’s universal recycling law, was beginning to take effect for large grocery stores.
“To address this challenge, we activated our statewide network of agencies, connecting partner food shelves and meal sites directly with area Hannaford Supermarkets to keep perishable food local,” said John Sayles, CEO of Vermont Foodbank.
By the end of the first year of the program in 2014, 16 Fresh Rescue partners collected 347,000 pounds of food that would have otherwise gone to waste. Today, 40 Fresh Rescue partnerships exist throughout the state, and more than a million pounds of fresh food is being saved from the Dumpster and shared with Vermonters who need it the most.
“The Vermont Foodbank is deeply involved in implementing Vermont’s universal recycling law [Act 148],” said Sayles. “The law’s first priority is to get edible food to people who need it safely and efficiently.
Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and California are all working to reduce wasted food and help meet the EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nationwide goal of a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030. The ultimate aim is to improve overall food security and conserve our nation’s natural resources.
For more information visit vtrecycles.com.

 

Submitted Photo
Fresh vegetables donated to foodbanks have increased.

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