CM: WGP Credit – Reuse and Rescue Programs/Projects

The Big Picture

WGP Credit: Reuse and Rescue Programs/Projects 

(1-3 Points, Reciprocal)

Credit Summary

The purpose of this credit is to reduce disposal of products and food that are still usable or are fit for consumption through reuse and rescue programs. 

Impact Summary

Reuse and Rescue programs have the ability to renovate the food market within a community. Not only will the amount of wasted food will reduce significantly, but this will also make it so less methane is being produced from landfills, and more people in need of food are being fed. The amount of energy being put into the production and transportation of food will decrease as well since there will be less of a demand for food. 

Submittal Summary

Certifying entities should submit a document with a description of the local product reuse or upcycling programs as well as a document with calculations showing performance of the program. The local government or company should also report/estimate the volume/value of food that is discounted in supporting or implementing a program of heavily discounted pricing for food near or at expiration date using the SWEEP Calculator below. 

Calculation: (will be two)

Case Study and Benefits

As seen below, Vermont passed the Universal Recycling Law (Act 148). This law prevents recyclable materials, leaf and yard debris, clean wood, and food scraps from getting put into trash bins and entering landfills. To make this law easier to follow, Vermont instated trash collection sites must offer recycling collection, public space recycling, and “pay-as-you-throw” programs to incentivize people to produce less trash or recycle.

Intent and Requirements

Intent

To reduce disposal of products and food that are still usable or are fit for consumption through reuse and rescue programs.

Local Government & Industry Requirements

Local government and/or its vendors or the Company should:

  • Support or implement product reuse or upcycling programs.

And

  • Support or implement a daily Prepared Food rescue program for healthy and Edible Food.

Or

  • Support or Implement a program of heavily discounted pricing for food near or at expiration date.

Potential Strategies:

  • Support or encourage local product reuse programs and organizations through grants, publicity, educational awareness, social media, and/or technical assistance
    • Upcycling opportunities
    • Local reuse companies and agencies
    • Material reuse donations from businesses and institutions for schools Support or encourage local food rescue organizations through grants, publicity, educational awareness, social media, and/or technical assistance.
  • Connect residents and non-profits with food rescue smartphone applications that alert user whenever excess food becomes available for discounted or free consumption (ex: Food for All, Gebni, goMkt, etc.).
  • “Spoiler Alert” for products with limited lifetime
  • Recognize and promote stores that are being proactive in food waste recovery (e.g. Kroger Zero Waste, Zero Hunger)
  • Adopt additional “good Samaritan law” to augment the federal “Bill Emerson Act” which reduces liability for food vendors
    • Have a health inspector go to food vendors to clarify these laws

Why We Care

Reuse and rescue programs such as food discount programs will reduce disposal of products and food that are still usable or are fit for consumption through reuse and rescue programs.

These programs help lower methane emissions from wasted food and materials that go to landfills. In addition, they help to conserve energy and natural resources by reducing the need for growing and transporting more food and goods. Community benefits include saving money and providing food to those who need it.

Accreditation will come from the provision of document showing a description of the local product reuse or upcycling programs and calculations of the local food rescue program performance, and a report/estimate of the volume/value of food that is discounted in supporting or implementing a program of heavily discounted pricing for food near or at expiration date. There are three tiers that can be reached depending on the level of food rescued or food discounted. 

The state of Vermont passed the Universal Recycling Law, which requires all food scraps and certain materials to be composted or recycled instead of going to a landfill. Along with this law, public space recycling, “pay-as-you-throw” trash, and recycling stations at trash collection sites were instated. 

Reducing the disposal of products and foods lowers methane emissions and our carbon footprint; these goods would have gone to a landfill where their combustion contributes to the harmful pollutants in the atmosphere. Around 68 percent of wasted food ends up in landfills or combustion facilities, which is the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the US. By reusing and rescuing, we can dramatically reduce this potent greenhouse gas.

This credit also helps to conserve energy and natural resources, as reusing and rescuing food means that less energy is needed for the growing and transportation of goods. For example, the agricultural industry is a large user of water and energy – by becoming more efficient in our use of produce, we can mitigate the loss of these resources.

In addition to the environmental benefits, this credit will help support the community by helping to provide to those who have less access to food. Also, by creating greater efficiencies in the product and food system, more money can be saved as all goods are being utilized.  

(information from https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home#:~:text=Helpful%20Links&text=Saves%20money%20from%20buying%20less,waste%20and%20then%20landfilling%20it).

How to Meet the Requirements

The local government or company should support or implement product reuse or upcycling programs. For example, they can provide grants, publicity, educational awareness, social media, and/or technical assistance to local product reuse organizations, or donate reusable materials from businesses and institutions. 

In addition, they must support or Implement a daily Prepared Food rescue program for healthy and Edible Food. This will require calculating the percentage of edible food rescued – see table below for how to meet the three tiers. To do this, the local government or company could connect residents and non-profits with food rescue smartphone applications that alert users whenever excess food becomes available for discounted or free consumption (ex: Food for All, Gebni, goMkt, etc.).

Instead of the food rescue program, they could instead support or implement a program of heavily discounted pricing for food near or at expiration date. This will require listing local food stores with expiration date food programs and reporting/estimating the volume/value of food that is discounted. Note that “Heavily Discounted” means 50% or more discount. 

The following criteria should be met when implementing either the food rescue program or the near expiration date discount program:

Food Rescue (percent of available Edible Food) Or Near Expiration Date Discount Program
Tier 1: (1 Point) Rescue 10 percent of available Edible Food 10 percent of local food stores have discount program
Tier 2: (1 Point) Rescue 20 percent 20 percent of local food stores
Tier 3: (1 Point) Rescue 25 percent 25 percent of local food stores

 

A calculator is available to assist in meeting these tiers

Required Documentation

Path 1

  • Description of Local Product Reuse or Upcycling Programs implemented/supported by the local government or industry certifier 
  • SWEEP Calculator for edible food recovered

Path 2

  • Description of Heavily Discounted Pricing for food near/at expiration date programs you either run or assist with. 
  • SWEEP Calculator for Food Stores with Near Expiration Pricing 
  • The local government or company should also report/estimate the volume/value of food that is discounted in supporting or implementing a program of heavily discounted pricing for food near or at expiration date. 

Case Studies & In-Depth Information

Local Government 

In 2012, Vermont passed the Universal Recycling Law (Act 148). This law prevents recyclable materials, leaf and yard debris, clean wood, and food scraps from getting put into trash bins and entering landfills. Studies show that if everyone in Vermont recycled or composted, then the state would cut the waste sent to landfills by almost a half. Food that is sent to landfills contributes to the release of harmful methane gas into the atmosphere. This law is a step towards reducing the harmful effects of landfill waste by encouraging reuse and recycling. 

To make this law easier to follow, Vermont instated trash collection sites must offer recycling collection, public space recycling, and “pay-as-you-throw” programs to incentivize people to produce less trash or recycle. The state also phased-in the law slowly to give companies and institutions adequate time to put recycling and food scrap programs in place. Even though the law passed in 2012, residents and businesses in Vermont didn’t have to keep all food scraps out of the trash until July 1st, 2020. 

https://dec.vermont.gov/waste-management/solid/universal-recycling

Industry

Patagonia, a sustainable clothing company, launched a collection in 2019 made entirely of upcycled clothing and fabrics that would have otherwise gone to a landfill. These pieces sold out quickly, speaking to the success of the program. Patagonia has various other sustainability initiatives, including buyback and repair programs. 

https://www.fastcompany.com/90592541/patagonia-has-had-enormous-success-with-upcycled-clothing-could-other-brands-follow 

The Food Recovery Network (FRN) works with colleges and universities to divert food waste from landfills and give it to communities that need it. Between July 2019 and June 2020, FRN diverted 531,165 pounds of food from landfills to people and donated 442,630 meals to communities. Additionally, in their nine years, FRN has diverted a total of 4,142,674 pounds and donated 3,452,229 meals. 

https://mailchi.mp/foodrecoverynetwork/the-movement-of-us-fy20-annual-report 

Referenced Standards

N/A

Definitions

Bill Emerson Act

Feeding America Definition: On October 1, 1996, President Clinton signed this act to encourage donation of food and grocery products to non-profit organizations for distribution to individuals in need. This law:

  • Protects you from liability when you donate to a non-profit organization;
  • Protects you from civil and criminal liability should the product donated in good faith later cause harm to the recipient;
  • Standardizes donor liability exposure. You or your legal counsel do not need to investigate liability laws in 50 states; and
  • Sets a floor of “gross negligence” or intentional misconduct for persons who donate grocery products. According to the new law, gross negligence is defined as “voluntary and conscious conduct by a person with knowledge (at the time of conduct) that the conduct is likely to be harmful to the health or well-being of another person.”

Edible Food

EPA Definition: a substance that is edible can be described as “fit to be eaten.”

Good Samaritan Law

LHSFNA Definition: Good Samaritan laws offer limited protection to someone who attempts to help a person in distress. Good Samaritan laws are written to encourage bystanders to get involved in these and other emergency situations without fear that they will be sued if their actions inadvertently contribute to a person’s injury or death.

Material Reuse

Extending the use of products for other purposes. 

Prepared Food 

Law Insider Definition: Prepared food means any food or beverage prepared for consumption on the Food Establishment’s premises, using any cooking or food preparation technique.

Product Reuse

EWWR Definition: Reuse means any operation by which products or components that are not waste are used again for the same purpose for which they were conceived.

Upcycling

Merriam Webster Definition: to recycle (something) in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item : to create an object of greater value from (a discarded object of lesser value)

Vendors

Investopedia Definition: A vendor is a party in the supply chain that makes goods and services available to companies or consumers.

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