Pittsburgh Joins Food Waste Reduction Initiative

Pittsburgh Joins Food Waste Reduction Initiative

Pittsburgh is looking for ways to waste less food by joining the new Food Matters Regional Initiative, along with four other mid-Atlantic cities. 
————————
Massive Food Waste 
————————
At present, Pittsburgh wastes some 89,000 tons of food every year, according to Natural Resources Defense Council estimates. Restaurants waste 30,300 tons, the largest amount, followed by homes at 27,900 tons.
Pittsburgh is joining Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA, Jersey City, NJ, and Washington, D.C. in developing strategies to prevent food waste | Learn more on Commonshare |, rescue surplus food, and recycle food scraps. A similar initiative is in the works in the Southeast, with Nashville and Memphis, TN, Asheville, NC, Atlanta, GA, and Orlando, FL.
—————————-
Finding Bold Solutions 
—————————-
The aim of the initiative is to find bold solutions to reduce food waste | Learn more on Commonshare |, food solutions that other municipalities can adopt, according to legislation presented by the Department of City Planning to City Council. 
The initiative will not impose any new costs on the city, but it is expected to deliver benefits. 
For one thing, the initiative will include a local food waste audit. The idea is that this will identify areas that could be improved. The audit will focus on specific places – a senior center, a recreation center. 
Another strategy will focus on getting the message to consumers. 
———————
The NRDC’s Work
———————
The NRDC has been working to reduce food waste since 2012, when it identified municipalities as critical to reduce about 40% of food waste that ends up in landfills. The NRDC piloted a city-level program with the Nashville Waste Initiative in 2015, and then expanded that program to Denver and to New York City in 2017. 
The NRDC reported back then that about two-thirds of food thrown away could have been eaten. 
Over time, the Council gained experience with challenges and trained health inspectors to advocate for food waste strategies. One partner in the process will be Sustainable Pittsburgh, an organization that already works to help restaurants achieve sustainability in keeping with one of the four levels of the designation “Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant.” 
————————————
Platinum Certified Sustainable 
————————————
One restaurant that has attained the top certification, platinum, is Square Café, currently in Braddock but moving to East Liberty. Owner Sherree Goldstein takes steps to limit food waste by using everything the restaurant can use. She explains they even “crumble and crush vegetable stems for bases for some menu items” and then compost what they cannot.
Ms. Goldstein pays about $150 a month to haul food scraps to a commercial composter, but she says sustainability is worth it.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *