Zero Waste Week 2022 highlights food waste, compost pilot program

Zero Waste Week 2022 highlights food waste, compost pilot program
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 6:37 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Conservationists with Zero Waste Gainesville want residents to reduce, reuse and recycle.

“We realize that we have a lot of edible food that goes to waste in our community,” said Zero Waste Gainesville Co-Chair, Amanda Waddle.

Reducing all types of food waste is a major focus for the 2022 Zero Waste Week. The group’s goal is to get Gainesville commissioners to pass a zero-waste ordinance while educating people on everyday sustainable habits.

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“So what we’re trying to do through this ordinance is get the effort community-wide, like throughout Gainesville,” said Waddle. “All food generating businesses will have to figure out a system to divert their edible food to those who need it and in our community, we do have people who need food to those who need it.”

Starting a home compost garden is just one way people can reduce food waste in their own households. The Gainesville-based group, Beaten Path Garden, is collecting hundreds of these green compost bins weekly from residents and restaurants in the area for their own compost pile.

“They’re basically doing the work for us providing nutrients for the surrounding area,” said Garrett Alvar with the group. The organization partners with a number of Gainesville restaurants to collect their food scraps and paper waste.

RELATED STORY: Zero Waste Week: Gainesville reuse stores promote sustainability

“I’d say about 10 to 14 restaurants including Satchel’s Pizza, Karma Cream, Sweetwater coffee, the marketing company Feathr downtown,” added Alvar. “Also, the Hotel Indigo, which is on Archer. So we have a handful of them that we work with directly. We have about 200 clients that work with us with the city program.”

At least three times a week, the group grows their compost pile at Grow Hub where buckets bring food scraps and more for Gainesville’s food waste pilot program. Around 200 residents participate but the group serves more than just households.

“Every week on Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays actually, we pick up food waste from around town. We dump it here at the end of the pile,” said Alvar. “As you can see, all these chickens are in here picking through it. Basically what they’re doing is collecting nutrients from it and then going out into the fields around us and providing fertilizer.”

Zero Waste closes at the end of the week with a clothing swap for people to trade rather than throw away their old items.

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