Food Waste Recovery and Diversion

New Canaan Food Waste Recovery and Diversion Program

New Canaan organization created to reduce food waste in restaurants
Restaurants in New Canaan
Sign at entrance to New Canaan

New Canaan Food Waste Recovery and Diversion Program

The New Canaan Food Waste Recovery and Diversion (NC FWRD) is a pilot project launched in 2022 by the Planet New Canaan Youth Board. The program’s purpose is to reduce food waste in restaurants. To date, food waste in New Canaan’s vibrant restaurant scene has not been widely addressed. The goals of the program are two-fold.

  • To further increase awareness about food waste
  • To showcase how our community is taking action to address food waste in our restaurants.

Food Waste Programs in New Canaan

Over the past few years, New Canaan has made advancements in diverting food waste. Most notably, the New Canaan Food Scrap Recycling program is available free to New Canaan residents at the Transfer Station. However, NC FWRD is the first effort to mobilize and work with New Canaan restaurants to reduce and divert food waste generated by the town’s 50+ restaurants and food providers. Here is the full list of all the food service establishments in our town: see all New Canaan eateries.

NC FWRD’s Objectives: Reduce Food Waste in Restaurants

The ultimate objective of the NC FWRD pilot program is to enable interested New Canaan restaurants to reduce and divert their food waste. Through education and training, restaurant management and employees will implement food waste management strategies.

Why is Reducing Food Waste Important?

Global Food Waste Facts

Global statistics underscore the extent of food waste:

  • One-third of the food produced every year gets thrown away
  • Rotting food generates 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases a year
  • If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter.
  • The U.S. contributes the 2nd highest weight of food waste in the world
  • 84% of U.S. restaurant food waste ends up in landfills.
  • The production of food that is wasted also means that resources to produce the unused food – including fertilizer, farmland, and water – was wasted. As a result, the wasted resources cost food producers $750 billion.

New Canaan Food Waste Facts

In New Canaan, a vibrant restaurant and food scene also translates into an opportunity to reduce wasted food that is an inevitable consequence of serving food in restaurants. Some local calculations to consider:

  • Based on EPA data, we can estimate that New Canaan produces approximately 7.5 million pounds of food waste. (Factoring in 20,000 residents and 1 pound per day). See EPA data.
  • For the 20+ New Canaan restaurants, we estimate that almost 600,000 pounds of food waste is generated a year. This doesn’t factor in the food waste of the 28+ other eateries and food stores in town.

Why is controlling food waste in Connecticut especially important?

Controlling food fast is imperative in Connecticut. The stark reality is that our incinerators are failing.  As a result, more of our waste ends up in landfills, and more will in the future.

Specifically, in July 2022, the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) garbage incinerator in Hartford closed. It is estimated that this will cause an estimated 700,000 tons of waste to be transferred to landfills out of state, which is unsustainable and costly. (Source)

Here are some legislative measures that CT have implemented to address this dire situation:

  • In 2011, CT became the first state to mandate institutions generating high volumes of food scraps to divert food waste.
  • As of 2022, the CT Commercial Organics Recycling Law requires institutions that generate a projected 26+ tons of food waste annually AND that are located within 20 miles from a composting facility to divert food waste. (At this point, this law does not apply to restaurants).
  • CT has set a goal of 60% diversion of materials from disposal by 2024 (Solid Waste Management Plan called for by Public Act 14-94).

Consumers Care about Food Waste

According to the 2022 National Restaurant Association Industry survey, 30% of adults would likely choose an environmentally-friendly restaurant over another restaurant. This statistic jumps to 48% for millennials and 40% for Gen Zs. In short, restaurants’ action – or lack of – may impact demand among customers and potential customers.

Ways to reduce food waste in restaurants, home and offices
Plate of food served at Gates Restaurant in New Canaan
The worst place for food waste to go: land fills
Restaurants in New Canaan and the way to reduce food waste
Connecticut State is trying to solve its waste issues
An incinerator in CT which are failing and increase the mandate to reduce food waste in restaurants
Image conveying people - or consumers
PNC Youth Board in front of Rosie
Mariana Ferreira at Rosie preparing for th pilot program
Mariana Ferreira at Rosie preparing for th pilot program
Composting to reduce food waste at Rosie
Food Rescue in action in New Canaan
Nick from Curbside Compost

Our Plan to Reduce Food Waste in New Canaan Restaurants

Pilot Program Starting with Rosie New Canaan

NC FWRD is a pilot project with the goal to fully funds interested local restaurants in the reduction and diversion of their food waste. In September 2022, NC FWRD started working with Rosie New Canaan to be our first prototype for the program. A $3,600 grant from the New England Grassroots Fund provided the funding for the pilot phase. There is no charge for the participating restaurants.

With the help of our partners (Curbside Compost, The Center for EcoTechnology, and Food Rescue U.S.), NC FWRD provides: education and training to restaurant employees; help with implementation of the food reduction and diversion techniques; and promotion of the restaurant’s participation via social media and publicity.

Here are the three strategic components of the program.

Strategy 1: REDUCE: Prevent the creation of food waste

NC FWRD connects local restaurants with waste experts at the Center for EcoTechnology. These experts consult on how to organize inventory to reduce waste. A waste audit could reveal recommendations for changes in menus and portions, reducing food waste before it becomes food waste. Technical suggestions, operational adjustments, and other proven modifications yield a variety of recommended options for the restaurant to reduce food waste.

Strategy 2. REUSE: Redistribute unused food through food donations

Working with Food Rescue US, NC FWRD will help restaurants donate their unused food. Food Rescue US is a national wide organization committed to simultaneously reducing food waste and food insecurity. The non-profit uses a web-based app to engage local volunteers to pick up and transfer excess fresh food from restaurants and grocers to social service agencies that feed the food-insecure.

Did you know?

Food donors are protected under The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act from liability from food donations. AND businesses that donate food are eligible for federal tax benefits.

Strategy 3. RECYCLE: Divert food waste by hauling food scraps to be composted

In partnership with Curbside Compost, NC FWRD will offer restaurants the opportunity to have their food scraps picked up for delivery to compost facilities. Curbside Compost will provide the needed bins and schedule the pick-ups. The end-result is a win-win. Food scraps do not end up at incinerators or landfills, decreasing waste and pollution. In turn, the scraps produce healthy, nutrient-rich soil to give back to the earth.

Why Food Waste Should Be Considered a Valuable Resource

Unused food should not be considered waste. In reality, it’s a valuable resource. There are many uses for a restaurant’s or food store’s uneaten food.

Feeding People

Food Rescue U.S. is an example of a national organization which is actively working in Fairfield County to divert fresh food surpluses from local businesses to social service agencies which feed food-insecure people. Volunteers use a state-of the-art, web-based app to handle the logistics of locating available food and transferring to those in need. If you are interested in volunteering, along with hundreds of Fairfield County residents, click here.

Feeding Animals

Here is how the EPA explains the third tier of its Food Recovery Hierarchy.

Farmers have been doing this for centuries. With proper and safe handling, anyone can donate food scraps to animals. Food scraps for animals can save farmers and companies money. It is often cheaper to feed animals food scraps rather than having them hauled to a landfill. Companies can also donate extra food to zoos or producers that make animal or pet food. There are many opportunities to feed animals, help the environment and reduce costs.

Planet New Canaan created a seasonal program in 2020 to take pumpkins after Thanksgiving to a farm for cows to enjoy. Thanks to the work of then-high school senior and co-founder of the PNC Youth Board Izzy Kaufman, a local farm picked up scraps every day during 2022 from Greenology for its animals.

Generating Power

Food can be used to not only feed people and animals, but also power your car or generator. There is increasing interest in finding effective means to obtain biofuel and bio-products from wasted food. These options can increase the use of alternative energy sources. To find out more about these options, go to the EPA website here.

Composting

Composting is the prominent diversion method. Composting, either in your backyard or in a commercial facility, creates a natural fertilizer with many beneficial qualities for agriculture and the environment.

The 3 strategies to reduce food waste
Food Rescue US transport food to the food insecure
The non profit that is having divert food that would be wasted and feeds food insecure people
Cow Enjoying Pumpkins on Farm in Massachusetts
Pick-up Truck Full with Pumpkins at the New Canaan Farmer's Market
End Product of Composting - Nutrient rich soil
Food Scrap Recycling Sign that Explains what can and cannot be included
Storefront of Walter Stewarts which is reducing its food waste
Izzy Kaufman started a daily program to transfer all food waste to a local farm
Example of a town that is working hard to reduce waste

Food Diversion Examples: New Canaan, CT and USA

New Canaan

  • The Town of New Canaan diverts 13,000 lbs. of food waste per month through Curbside Compost’s residential, commercial, and transfer station collection alone (Source: Curbside Compost)
  • Walter Stewart’s diverted 107,000 lbs. of food in its first year diverting food waste (Source: Curbside Compost 2/28/22)
  • Greenology diverts its food scraps from its plant-based eatery to a local farm.

Connecticut

Middletown, CT: 30 restaurants in Middletown, CT are diverting their food for composting. This “Feed The Earth Middletown” generated nearly 100,000 pounds of food waste in the first 8 months

Greenwich and Southbury both launched Food Waste programs, similar to NC FWRD. Check out Waste Free Greenwich and Southbury Food Scrap Recycling Pilot Program.

In addition to New Canaan, our neighboring town of Darien, Norwalk, Wilton, Greenwich, Westport, and Fairfield also have food diversion/ composting programs

Outside CT in U.S.

U.S. cities have launched similar programs: Philly Food Waste Business Challenge, Nashville’s Food Saver Challenge, and Denver’s Food Matters Restaurant Challenge. In similar ways, there are many more individuals, businesses, and communities developing restaurant food waste reduction programs.

 

Meet The Planet New Canaan

Youth Board

Two New Canaanites — Mariana Ferreira and Izzy Kaufman – founded the Planet New Canaan Youth Board. Their motivation is powerful: to make enduring changes in their home town that address the environmental crisis facing the world. 

Established July 2022, the Planet New Canaan Youth Board is a group of students from New Canaan who are interested in bringing awareness to the community about environmental issues while inspiring action to make the world a greener, healthier place to live. The Youth Board will be a platform for students to raise and address issues, lead projects, and provide input on PNC programming. The PNC Youth Board will have regular meetings.

The leadership of Mariana and Izzy is inspiring to all: to the high school students who will take on Youth Board’s mission, and to the rest of the community who admire their conviction.

Above right photo (left to right): Georgi Owsley, Natalie Owsley, Polly Parsons, Bea Davenport, Cece Ferreira, Charlie Marasciullo, Abbie Dymond, Mariana Ferreira, Izzy Kaufman

Meet Mariana Ferreira

Mariana is a recent graduate of Boston College (Class of 2021). She grew up in New Canaan and went to NCHS (Class of 2017). She graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with a focus on Ethics and Social Justice. She’s passionate about sustainability, social impact businesses, and learning about global cultures. 

Meet Izzy Kaufman

Izzy is a recent graduate of NCHS (Class of 2022) and will be studying Environment, Sustainability, and Policy at Syracuse University (Class of 2026). She is passionate about social and environmental justice and implementing sustainable tactics into preexisting cities and establishments.

Youth Group Organizes to Address Food Waste in Restaurants
Youth Board helping with recycling
Photo in New Canaan of Mariana and Izzy
Founder of PNC Youth Board
Co-Founder of PNC Youth Board

Interested in Joining the Youth Board?

Want to join the PNC Youth Board? It’s easy.

No previous knowledge or experience is necessary.

There’s no required hours or commitment.

Any age is welcome!

We HIGHLY encourage interested high school students to reach out to us.

This is a youth-led project and a great opportunity to build up relevant experience.

Email [email protected] with questions.

Click the button below to join us (just fill out the form).

New Canaan Food Waste Recovery and Diversion Program

The New Canaan Food Waste Recovery and Diversion (NC FWRD) is a pilot project launched in 2022 by the Planet New Canaan Youth Board. The program’s purpose is to reduce food waste in restaurants. To date, food waste in New Canaan’s vibrant restaurant scene has not been widely addressed. The goals of the program are two-fold.

  • To further increase awareness about food waste
  • To showcase how our community is taking action to address food waste in our restaurants.

Food Waste Programs in New Canaan

Over the past few years, New Canaan has made advancements in diverting food waste. Most notably, the New Canaan Food Scrap Recycling program is available free to New Canaan residents at the Transfer Station. However, NC FWRD is the first effort to mobilize and work with New Canaan restaurants to reduce and divert food waste generated by the town’s 50+ restaurants and food providers. Here is the full list of all the food service establishments in our town: see all New Canaan eateries.

NC FWRD’s Objectives: Reduce Food Waste in Restaurants

The ultimate objective of the NC FWRD pilot program is to enable interested New Canaan restaurants to reduce and divert their food waste. Through education and training, restaurant management and employees will implement food waste management strategies.

New Canaan organization created to reduce food waste in restaurants
Restaurants in New Canaan
Sign at entrance to New Canaan

Why is Reducing Food Waste Important?

Global Food Waste Facts

Global statistics underscore the extent of food waste:

  • One-third of the food produced every year gets thrown away
  • Rotting food generates 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases a year
  • If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter.
  • The U.S. contributes the 2nd highest weight of food waste in the world
  • 84% of U.S. restaurant food waste ends up in landfills.
  • The production of food that is wasted also means that resources to produce the unused food – including fertilizer, farmland, and water – was wasted. As a result, the wasted resources cost food producers $750 billion.

New Canaan Food Waste Facts

In New Canaan, a vibrant restaurant and food scene also translates into an opportunity to reduce wasted food that is an inevitable consequence of serving food in restaurants. Some local calculations to consider:

  • Based on EPA data, we can estimate that New Canaan produces approximately 7.5 million pounds of food waste. (Factoring in 20,000 residents and 1 pound per day). See EPA data.
  • For the 20+ New Canaan restaurants, we estimate that almost 600,000 pounds of food waste is generated a year. This doesn’t factor in the food waste of the 28+ other eateries and food stores in town.

Why is controlling food waste in Connecticut especially important?

Controlling food fast is imperative in Connecticut. The stark reality is that our incinerators are failing.  As a result, more of our waste ends up in landfills, and more will in the future.

Specifically, in July 2022, the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) garbage incinerator in Hartford closed. It is estimated that this will cause an estimated 700,000 tons of waste to be transferred to landfills out of state, which is unsustainable and costly. (Source)

Here are some legislative measures that CT have implemented to address this dire situation:

  • In 2011, CT became the first state to mandate institutions generating high volumes of food scraps to divert food waste.
  • As of 2022, the CT Commercial Organics Recycling Law requires institutions that generate a projected 26+ tons of food waste annually AND that are located within 20 miles from a composting facility to divert food waste. (At this point, this law does not apply to restaurants).
  • CT has set a goal of 60% diversion of materials from disposal by 2024 (Solid Waste Management Plan called for by Public Act 14-94).

Consumers Care about Food Waste

According to the 2022 National Restaurant Association Industry survey, 30% of adults would likely choose an environmentally-friendly restaurant over another restaurant. This statistic jumps to 48% for millennials and 40% for Gen Zs. In short, restaurants’ action – or lack of – may impact demand among customers and potential customers.

Ways to reduce food waste in restaurants, home and offices
Plate of food served at Gates Restaurant in New Canaan
The worst place for food waste to go: land fills
Restaurants in New Canaan and the way to reduce food waste
Connecticut State is trying to solve its waste issues
An incinerator in CT which are failing and increase the mandate to reduce food waste in restaurants
Image conveying people - or consumers

Our Plan to Reduce Food Waste in New Canaan Restaurants

Pilot Program Starting with Rosie New Canaan

NC FWRD is a pilot project with the goal to fully funds interested local restaurants in the reduction and diversion of their food waste. Starting in September 2022, NC FWRD is working with Rosie New Canaan to be our first prototype for the program. A $3,600 grant from the New England Grassroots Fund provided the funding for the pilot phase. There is no charge for the participating restaurants.

With the help of our partners (Curbside Compost, The Center for EcoTechnology, and Food Rescue U.S.), NC FWRD provides: education and training to restaurant employees; help with implementation of the food reduction and diversion techniques; and promotion of the restaurant’s participation via social media and publicity.

Here are the three strategic components of the program.

Strategy 1: REDUCE: Prevent the creation of food waste

NC FWRD connects local restaurants with waste experts at the Center for EcoTechnology. These experts will consult on how to organize inventory to reduce waste. A waste audit could reveal recommendations for changes in menus and portions, reducing food waste before it becomes food waste. Technical suggestions, operational adjustments, and other proven modifications yield a variety of recommended options for the restaurant to reduce food waste.

Strategy 2. REUSE: Redistribute unused food through food donations

Working with Food Rescue US, NC FWRD will help restaurants donate their unused food. Food Rescue US is a national wide organization committed to simultaneously reducing food waste and food insecurity. The non-profit uses a web-based app to engage local volunteers to pick up and transfer excess fresh food from restaurants and grocers to social service agencies that feed the food-insecure.

Did you know?

Food donors are protected under The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act from liability from food donations. AND businesses that donate food are eligible for federal tax benefits.

Strategy 3. RECYCLE: Divert food waste by hauling food scraps to be composted

In partnership with Curbside Compost, NC FWRD will offer restaurants the opportunity to have their food scraps picked up for delivery to compost facilities. Curbside Compost will provide the needed bins and schedule the pick-ups. The end-result is a win-win. Food scraps do not end up at incinerators or landfills, decreasing waste and pollution. In turn, the scraps produce healthy, nutrient-rich soil to give back to the earth.

PNC Youth Board in front of Rosie
Mariana Ferreira at Rosie preparing for th pilot program
Mariana Ferreira at Rosie preparing for th pilot program
Composting to reduce food waste at Rosie
Food Rescue in action in New Canaan
Nick from Curbside Compost

Why Food Waste Should Be Considered a Valuable Resource

Unused food should not be considered waste. In reality, it’s a valuable resource. There are many uses for a restaurant’s or food store’s uneaten food.

Feeding People

Food Rescue U.S. is an example of a national organization which is actively working in Fairfield County to divert fresh food surpluses from local businesses to social service agencies which feed food-insecure people. Volunteers use a state-of the-art, web-based app to handle the logistics of locating available food and transferring to those in need. If you are interested in volunteering, along with hundreds of Fairfield County residents, click here.

Feeding Animals

Here is how the EPA explains the third tier of its Food Recovery Hierarchy.

Farmers have been doing this for centuries. With proper and safe handling, anyone can donate food scraps to animals. Food scraps for animals can save farmers and companies money. It is often cheaper to feed animals food scraps rather than having them hauled to a landfill. Companies can also donate extra food to zoos or producers that make animal or pet food. There are many opportunities to feed animals, help the environment and reduce costs.

Planet New Canaan has created a seasonal program in 2020 to take pumpkins after Thanksgiving to a farm for cows to enjoy. Thanks to the work of then-high school senior and co-founder of the PNC Youth Board Izzy Kaufman, a local farm picked up scraps every day during 2022 from Greenology for its animals.

Generating Power

Food can be used to not only feed people and animals, but also power your car or generator. There is increasing interest in finding effective means to obtain biofuel and bio-products from wasted food. These options can increase the use of alternative energy sources. To find out more about these options, go to the EPA website here.

Composting

Composting is the prominent diversion method. Composting, either in your backyard or in a commercial facility, creates a natural fertilizer with many beneficial qualities for agriculture and the environment.

The 3 strategies to reduce food waste
Food Rescue US transport food to the food insecure
The non profit that is having divert food that would be wasted and feeds food insecure people
Cow Enjoying Pumpkins on Farm in Massachusetts
Pick-up Truck Full with Pumpkins at the New Canaan Farmer's Market
End Product of Composting - Nutrient rich soil

Food Diversion Examples: New Canaan, CT and USA

New Canaan

  • The Town of New Canaan diverts 13,000 lbs. of food waste per month through Curbside Compost’s residential, commercial, and transfer station collection alone (Source: Curbside Compost)
  • Walter Stewart’s diverted 107,000 lbs. of food in its first year diverting food waste (Source: Curbside Compost 2/28/22)
  • Greenology diverts its food scraps from its plant-based eatery to a local farm.

Connecticut

Middletown, CT: 30 restaurants in Middletown, CT are diverting their food for composting. This “Feed The Earth Middletown” generated nearly 100,000 pounds of food waste in the first 8 months

Greenwich and Southbury both launched Food Waste programs, similar to NC FWRD. Check out Waste Free Greenwich and Southbury Food Scrap Recycling Pilot Program.

In addition to New Canaan, our neighboring town of Darien, Norwalk, Wilton, Greenwich, Westport, and Fairfield also have food diversion/ composting programs

Outside CT in U.S.

U.S. cities have launched similar programs: Philly Food Waste Business Challenge, Nashville’s Food Saver Challenge, and Denver’s Food Matters Restaurant Challenge. In similar ways, there are many more individuals, businesses, and communities developing restaurant food waste reduction programs.

 

Food Scrap Recycling Sign that Explains what can and cannot be included
Storefront of Walter Stewarts which is reducing its food waste
Izzy Kaufman started a daily program to transfer all food waste to a local farm
Example of a town that is working hard to reduce waste

Meet The Planet New Canaan

Youth Board

Two New Canaanites — Mariana Ferreira and Izzy Kaufman – founded the Planet New Canaan Youth Board. Their motivation is powerful: to make enduring changes in their home town that address the environmental crisis facing the world. 

Established July 2022, the Planet New Canaan Youth Board is a group of students from New Canaan who are interested in bringing awareness to the community about environmental issues while inspiring action to make the world a greener, healthier place to live. The Youth Board will be a platform for students to raise and address issues, lead projects, and provide input on PNC programming. The PNC Youth Board will have regular meetings.

The leadership of Mariana and Izzy is inspiring to all: to the high school students who will take on Youth Board’s mission, and to the rest of the community who admire their conviction.

Above right photo (left to right): Georgi Owsley, Natalie Owsley, Polly Parsons, Bea Davenport, Cece Ferreira, Charlie Marasciullo, Abbie Dymond, Mariana Ferreira, Izzy Kaufman

Meet Mariana Ferreira

Mariana is a recent graduate of Boston College (Class of 2021). She grew up in New Canaan and went to NCHS (Class of 2017). She graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with a focus on Ethics and Social Justice. She’s passionate about sustainability, social impact businesses, and learning about global cultures. 

Meet Izzy Kaufman

Izzy is a recent graduate of NCHS (Class of 2022) and will be studying Environment, Sustainability, and Policy at Syracuse University (Class of 2026). She is passionate about social and environmental justice and implementing sustainable tactics into preexisting cities and establishments.

Youth Group Organizes to Address Food Waste in Restaurants
Youth Board helping with recycling
Photo in New Canaan of Mariana and Izzy
Founder of PNC Youth Board
Co-Founder of PNC Youth Board

Interested in Joining the Youth Board?

Want to join the PNC Youth Board? It’s easy.

No previous knowledge or experience is necessary.

There’s no required hours or commitment.

Any age is welcome!

We HIGHLY encourage interested high school students to reach out to us.

This is a youth-led project and a great opportunity to build up relevant experience.

Email [email protected] with questions.

Click the button below to join us (just fill out the form).

Join Our Mailing List

Contact Us / Follow Us

[email protected]