WSU receives EPA grant to prevent food waste

WSU to partner with institutions in Washington to reduce waste



The grant will engage farmers and public facilities in outreach programs.

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen reporter

WSU is the recipient of a nearly $130,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant to help engage farmers and public facilities in outreach programs to prevent food waste in Washington state.

Georgine Yorgey, associate director of WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, said this money will go toward engagement efforts for stakeholders who handle large amounts of organic waste. Targeted stakeholders will primarily include livestock farmers as well as wastewater treatment facilities and food processing plants.

Yorgey said this grant is part of a larger project to learn more about anaerobic digestion of carbon waste. In other words, they want to determine how to get rid of organic materials without greenhouse gas emissions or extra cost.

“This project is part of a longer-standing effort, so there are things we’ve already done with stakeholders in the region, and we anticipate that this project will not, on its own, get all the way to operating digesters in the region,” Yorgey said.

CSANR coordinators will partner with institutions and stakeholders across Washington state, including the Washington State Departments of Commerce and Ecology, to develop three areas in the state that would be best to build “digester projects,” according to the news release from the EPA about the grant. This sustainable model is to curb food waste on both economic and environmental levels.

Yorgey said the EPA called for proposals from institutions around the country to show innovative projects that could help the economy and environment at the same time.

“If we can recapture the value of waste throughout our system, we reduce negative impacts, and it really serves the community,” Yorgey said. “It can create employment and it can recapture materials to be used in communities.”

The anaerobic digestion grant was started as part of the EPA’s recent effort to add to the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, a partnership among the EPA, Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

These initiatives have the main goal of lowering food waste at the local and federal level, according to the news release.

WSU was one of 12 recipients of the grant, according to the news release. The CSANR will receive $129,727 after the EPA clears the proposals.

Yorgey said it will likely take a few months to have the funds, but once they do, they will continue with the long efforts to divert food from landfills in Washington.