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Fighting Food Waste and Hunger in Sonoma County

CCNB’s Zero Waste team continues to find new services to offer our communities while teaching corpsmembers marketable job skills. Thanks to a Food Waste Prevention and Rescue grant awarded to longtime partner Zero Waste Sonoma from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) through California Climate Investments, CCNB will significantly expand food recovery services in Sonoma County, resulting in an estimated 705,200 pounds of food rescued and 561 metric tons of CO2 reduced over the two-year grant term.

This partnership will prepare some of Sonoma County’s largest food generators (like supermarkets, food service providers, wholesalers, and food distributors) to meet California’s 2025 goal to redirect 20% of edible food currently thrown away to feed people in need instead. Additionally, it will also create a new job-training pathway for corpsmembers delivering donated food to local food recovery organizations, starting with the Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB). Corpsmembers and their supervisors will earn Safe Food Handling certificates and receive paid, on-the-job training to learn about data collection and delivery logistics from REFB. In return, CCNB will provide REFB with a grant-funded workforce to help offset the food bank’s pandemic-related labor shortage.

The remaining grant funds will be used to purchase a refrigerated box truck, pallet jack, insulated food carriers, and other associated materials for food rescue. Any food not fit for human consumption will be sent to feed local farm animals whenever possible or otherwise composted. CCNB will expand this program over time to serve larger geographic areas, adding to the list of recyclable materials our Zero Waste team diverts from the landfill and creating even more green career opportunities for corpsmembers in our program. Additionally, CCNB will continue to help Sonoma County and the state of California achieve their long-term goals to slow climate change. There are so many “wins” with this new program that we’ve lost count!

Reducing Food Waste at Home

Even if you are a pro at avoiding food waste, there will always be excess food material created (like banana peels) that we want to keep out of the landfill. Not only does any material take up precious space, organic material like food and yard waste releases methane into our air when it breaks down anaerobically in the landfill! While composting at home is a great way to reduce your impact, not everyone has the capacity to do so.

Luckily, our friends at both Marin Sanitary Services and Recology Sonoma Marin make it easy to prevent this build-up of material in landfills by offering weekly collection of residential compostable items in green bins. If you don’t compost at home or in your neighborhood, request a bin today from the company serving your area!

Live in an apartment? Talk to your property manager about adding this service in addition to recycling and garbage so everyone in your apartment, condominium, or townhouse complex can benefit.

Copyright © 2021 Conservation Corps North Bay, All rights reserved.

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