Alameda County Food Bank – Big Slices of the Food Recovery Pie

By NCRA Food Waste Reduction Committee
For our report, Commercial Food Waste Reduction in Alameda County, we documented the amount of surplus food that was rescued and distributed in Alameda County. We estimated that about 5.7 million pounds of surplus food that was generated within the county was redistributed to feed hungry people in Alameda County in 2016.

A major player is the Alameda County Community Food Bank. As we documented in our report, the Food Bank runs the grocery rescue or Food Recovery Program which matches grocery stores to agencies (like food pantries) that distribute the surplus food (like individually wrapped salads, sandwiches, produce and food staples). Over 3.6 million pounds of food from over 100 donors was redistributed through the grocery rescue program in 2016. This grew to over 4 million pounds in 2017.

Since we published our report in July 2017, we learned about other sources of surplus food obtained by the Food Bank.

The Food Bank receives donations from large manufacturers and retail distributors, some of which might otherwise have been disposed. The Local Donation Program from Distributors and Manufacturers accounts for over 25% of the food that they distribute. This compares to about 12% from the grocery rescue program.The Local Donation Program has grown by 2.2 million pounds over the last two years, with last fiscal year totaling 6.2 million pounds.  About 40% of this product is produce, and overall, it consists of a fair mix of dry goods, fresh bread/tortillas, fresh dairy, fresh juice, frozen product (meat, meals, etc.). The Food Bank works with about 20 donation partners throughout the county weekly, and averages about 630,000 pounds of surplus food redistributed per month.

About 45% of the food that the Food Bank distributes comes from the California Association of Food Banks Farm to Family Program which distributed 164 million pounds of surplus produce to 43 food banks statewide and partnered with more than 135 farmers to access 44 different crops (which might otherwise have been wasted or ploughed under). This surplus food is generated outside of Alameda County, but feeds hungry people in county and throughout the state.

Senate Bill 1383 requires local jurisdictions to up the ante on food rescue and ensure that 20% of currently disposed edible food is recovered for human consumption in 2025. As the state identifies priorities for food rescue, it will need to consider the role of the large, traditional sources of surplus food (farms, manufacturers, and distributors) compared to the smaller, more difficult-to-address sources of surplus food (such as restaurants, schools, corporate cafeterias, and caterers).

Thank you Caroline Chow, Food Resource Development Coordinator, Alameda County Community Food Bank for contributing to this piece.

 

NCRA and SWANA GRC Fall Happy Hour

NCRA and SWANA GRC Fall Happy Hour

Uproar Brewing Company, San Jose

Thursday, October 5th, 4:30pm-7:00

Join the Northern California Recycling Association and Solid Waste Association of North America’s Gold Rush Chapter for a happy hour mixer and a chance to meet and mingle with others with similar interests! 

The event is Thursday, October 5th from 4:30-7:00pm at the Uproar Brewing Company in downtown San Jose.  This is a new brewery in San Jose in a hip, laid-back warehouse-style space. Parking is validated from ParkSJ parking garages, and there is also metered street parking available. It’s about a 20 min transit trip from the Diridon Caltrain station. There are also stops nearby for bus and light rail.

Appetizers and the first round of drinks will be provided (sponsored by NCRA and SWANA Gold Rush Chapter). All members and potential members are welcome. Please feel free to share this with other professionals in the environmental industry, and college students interested in our industry.

No RSVP is required. We hope to see you there!

Zero Waste Week – Full Schedule and Details!

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!

Zero Waste Youth Convergence 5th Annual Conference, Sunday, 3/19/17
This event brings together high school and college students as well as young professionals in a full day dedicated to learning, visioning, organizing for Zero Waste and bringing this back to our schools and communities. Please check their WEBSITE for more details about last year’s event and this year’s details soon to come.

Screening of “A Plastic Ocean” Monday, 3/20/17,6pm, Marin Sanitary Service
Plastic Oceans has assembled a team of the world’s top scientists and leading film-makers to produce a powerful, high-end documentary in high definition ‘A Plastic Ocean’. Accompanied by scientists, conservationists, and engineers, the film follows the journey of two explorers as they travel to some of the most remote parts of the world, documenting the environmental issues associated with plastic pollution and its impact on the environment, ecosystems and human health. Panel discussion to follow (panelists not yet confirmed). Drinks and light food offered. Free for NCRA members, nominal donation for non-members. RSVP here.

22nd Annual Recycling Update – Tuesday, 3/21/17 – 8:30am – 4:30pm, Berkeley
Recycling Update is THE event of the season for Bay Area waste reduction professionals to learn about what’s new and different in discards management. The day features nearly 30 industry experts speaking on the spectrum of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot as well as networking opportunities, a delicious zero waste lunch, and plenty of ideas to bring home to your local municipalities.

Conference Format:

  • Ten-minute presentations
  • Zero Waste continental breakfast, gourmet lunch, and refreshments
  • Meet, discuss and network with folks in the field!
  • Easy BART access

It’s All About the Process(ing) Tour – Wednesday, 3/22/17 – 9am – 3pm
Most of the NCRA community is well-schooled on collection programs and outreach, but what happens next? Come see the next step in closing the loop.  We are lucky to have local Bay Area facilities with updated technologies to process collected materials into usable feedstocks. See here for all the tour info!

Want to know what happens to your glass bottles?  If you recycle a bottle in California, it goes to Strategic Materials – the largest glass recycler in the country.  If anyone toured their old facility in San Leandro, you’ll know that this is a fascinating and instructive tour!  Strategic has a new facility in Fairfield, and on this tour, you’ll see how glass is received, cleaned, and processed into cullet for production into new glass bottles and other products.

And what about food scraps, yard trimmings…and even the digestate we saw at our South San Francisco anaerobic digester tour a few months ago?  The Napa Recycling & Composting Facility has a new organics pre-processing line, receiving building, and all electric equipment to sort and process 80,000+tons/year of organics into feedstock for the onsite composting facility.  Many of us have seen MRF sort lines for recyclables, but you also need to see an organics sort line and processing operation to get insight into how California is going to get to that lofty goal of 75% of organics out of the landfill by 2025!

Tour participants will meet at a location to be determined in Berkeley at 9am, and the group will depart in two vans for a tour start time at 10am at Strategic Materials in Fairfield. No host lunch for the group will happen in the region from 11:45 until 12:45. Tour of the Napa Recycling & Composting Facility will start at 1 and end at 2:30, and the group will arrive back in Oakland/Berkeley by 3pm. Closed-toe shoes are required for the tour.

CRRA GRC Webinar: Next Steps to Zero Wasting in California, Thursday, 3/23/17, 12pm
Help us to plan the strategies and tactics we will need to maximize landfill reduction statewide.  Free workshop sponsored by the Global Recycling Council, a technical council of the California Resource Recovery Association. Sponsored by the National Recycling Coalition. See here for all the info and register here!

Dogtown Redemption, Thursday, 3/23/17, 6pm
Dogtown Redemption is the intimate story of recyclers in West Oakland—a journey through a landscape of love and loss, devotion and addiction, prejudice and poverty. Join us for a free screening, refreshments, and a Q&A session with the directors.  Register here!

Pier 96 New Processing Line Tour, Friday, 3/24/17, 10am – 12 noon
The multi-million upgrade at Pier 96 is impressive and provides an educational and exciting tour!  It is especially noteworthy that the upgrade was fit into, and around, the old system while it was operating. It has resulted in reduced residual, including capturing small pieces of material, such as shredded paper and more glass, and also has the ability to recover more material types like cartons, film plastic and textiles. The upgrade was designed based on the successful secondary MRF R&D efforts in LA that were recovering more than half of the SF residual that was sent to their facility. Register here, free admission, 25 attendees maximum.