Sustainable America Blog

Racing to End Food Waste

Food waste reduction efforts at NASCAR, April 2015

Sustainable America helped reduce food waste at Richmond International Raceway in April

Whether we’re eating peanuts in the cheap seats or grazing from buffets in a luxury box, eating is an integral part of cheering on our favorite teams. But with game-day snacking also comes food waste, and many sports leagues and events are taking notice. Sustainable America recently conducted a pilot program with NASCAR to speed up the food waste reduction movement.

Sustainable America chased down food waste at a group of food service areas at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia in late April. Together with NASCAR Green and Natural Organic Process Enterprises (NOPE), and with added assistance from Henrico County, we worked to reduce waste in two ways: by donating prepared food that didn’t get eaten to Good Samaritan Ministries, and by sending food scraps and plate waste to be composted rather than to a landfill. Here’s a snapshot of the results:

Racing_End_Food_Waste-3

In order to close the loop, we are also working on coordinating efforts to install a community garden at the Raceway nourished with the compost created as a result of these food waste efforts.

This weekend of food waste reduction was only the beginning. Beyond rescuing and composting food, information was gathered that will help expand the Raceway’s food waste reduction efforts and engage with fans at future events. We are also exploring the possibility of bringing this work to more raceways.

As these efforts grow, the benefits start to multiply. More hungry people will be fed, less methane will be emitted from food rotting in landfills, more compost will be made, and more fans will learn about the food waste issue.

If you’re interested in supporting our food waste reduction efforts, please donate to Sustainable America. And if you would like help reducing food waste at an event you manage, Sustainable America can help. Contact Heide Hart, director of events, at heide.hart@sustainableamerica.org or 203-803-1250.

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Peanuts and Cracker Jacks and…Compost?
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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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