An estimated 35 million tons of food is discarded each year in the U.S., equaling $165 billion in food waste, according to the Indiana Recycling Coalition.
A new program launched this week, the Indiana Food Scrap Initiative, will work with organizations that generate a lot of food waste, such as grocery stores, and help them find resources for composting the food.
Indiana Recycling Coalition executive director Carey Hamilton says they hope working on a larger scale will eventually inspire individuals to participate as well.
“As we see more and more interest from local governments, we think that they will be the ones to use the resources that we create through the initiative to go out into their communities and educate about different ways to reduce food waste,” Hamilton says.
Hamilton says they’ll also be working with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to make state regulations supportive of composting.
But she says Indiana has a long way to go.
“You have to have a place to take the material that is set up properly and regulated to handle that material and turn it into compost in a safe and effective way, and today there are not enough of those locations across the state,” she says.
Hamilton says the Coalition plans to build a “roadmap” where compost piles are already in place and where composting outlets are under construction.