This was the topic at the Sept. 30th Green Collaborative meeting. Thanks to the 3R Working Group who hosted the well attended Wa$te Wi$e Welle$ley zoom meeting.
If you missed it you can watch it here.
You will hear from speakers Jamie Manzolini, Superintendent of Wellesley RDF; Kirstie Pecci, Director of the Zero Waste Project and a Senior Fellow at Conservation Law Foundation who focuses on waste reduction and zero waste solutions; and Chris Beling a Member of the Assistance and Pollution Prevention Unit in the Office of Environmental Stewardship of the EPA who has worked on food waste issues for over 25 years.
These interesting and knowledgable speakers discussed the growing waste problem and the number of challenges recycling is facing. The current scale and pace of waste generation is unsustainable.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) includes disposed of items from homes, schools, and businesses such as furniture, mattresses, clothing, food scraps and appliances. Between 1990 and 2017 total municipal solid waste in the US increased by nearly 30% to about 268 million tons. Food waste comprises about 15% of total MSW. Americans discard an estimated 40 million tons of food every year which equates to 80 billion pounds of food.
The manufacture and use of products, as well as the management of resulting waste via landfills and incinerators, create greenhouse gas emissions thereby contributing to climate change. Landfills and incinerators also release toxic chemicals. Toxins make their way into air, land and water for uptake into plants, animals and humans. Toxins bleach coral reefs and disrupt food chains while plastics fill waterways and harm aquatic life. Simply put, let's all work to minimize the trash sent to incinerators and landfills.
Wellesley’s RDF, a leader in municipal waste management, is exhibiting its resiliency continuing to recycle and to divert food waste in the face of a difficult international recycling market and the pandemic. The RDF processes roughly 7,500 tons of municipal solid waste, 5,500 tons of recyclable material and 80 tons of food waste annually. Because of on-site separation of high-quality materials at the RDF, Wellesley is able to sell certain recyclables like cardboard and newspaper for top dollar. The RDF still faces challenges but is doing well despite the current climate.
Learn more on how you can do your part by watching the video here, and taking actions to reduce your waste.