Target: Richard K. Sullivan Jr., Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs of Massachusetts
Goal: Applaud State’s efforts to reduce food waste
Americans waste forty percent of the food that they produce each year. Food waste drains natural resources as all the materials and energy inputs used in the production of the food are also lost when it is disposed. Fortunately, the state of Massachusetts is addressing the issue of food waste in a plan to ban big businesses and institutions, including large restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and universities from discarding unwanted food as trash.
The new regulations taking effect next July will require large companies and organizations that produce more than one ton of organic waste, including weeds and manure, to donate edible food to people in need, take it to farms or zoos to be used as animal feed, compost it, or send it to anaerobic digestion plants. Anaerobic digesters are facilities that use microbes to break down organic waste while preventing the release of the greenhouse gas methane, which would otherwise trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. The industrial plants contain methane from food and then convert it into heat or electricity.
Using anaerobic digesters saves at least a ton of greenhouse gases for every ton of food waste that is diverted from a landfill, where it would release methane while decomposing. However, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection recommends producing less waste in the first place, which is the most effective course of action to reduce our methane generating food waste problem. Large businesses and institutions must modify the quantity and timing of their orders and purchases to avoid surplus food.
Massachusetts’ plan to regulate food waste also saves organizations and companies on trash disposal costs, which is increasingly expensive as landfill capacity drops. The new facilities will also create jobs and revenue in the renewable energy-producing industry. Please sign this petition to applaud Massachusetts for the proposal of this environmentally and economically beneficial plan.
Dear Richard K. Sullivan Jr., Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs of Massachusetts
I would like to commend your efforts to reduce the negative environmental impacts of disposing organic matter in landfills by proposing a commercial ban on food waste. The new regulations have the potential to reduce the amount of waste produced by large restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and universities. It is essential that organizations and companies become aware of how much food they order and purchase that goes to waste. Encouraging businesses and institutions to donate their food surpluses to others in need as a preferred course of action for waste avoidance promotes social responsibility.
Managing waste by requiring venues that use more than a ton of waste in a week to compost organic matter or send it to anaerobic digestion plants offers a promising solution to mitigate global warming from the release of greenhouse gases. The renewable energy-producing industry, including composting and the use of anaerobic digestion facilities, will benefit the economy by creating jobs and generating revenue. I encourage you to expand the regulations of food waste to households. Please continue to lead a solution-oriented, environmentally conscious, and socially responsible example for the rest of the nation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: jjldickinson via Flickr