Clarkson’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE) has been granted nearly $20,000 for a project titled, “Potsdam Community Food Waste: Education, Engagement, and Planning,” from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I). The goal of this project is to increase community awareness and stakeholder engagement necessary to develop a suitable plan for a community-scale food waste management program in the Town of Potsdam.
The project will educate and engage food waste generators ranging from the general public to large institutions; the municipal government; and area farmers and potential other participants who may be interested in organics recycling business opportunities such as composting or anaerobic digestion. The goal is to see a significant increase in individuals and businesses who are committed to supporting the implementation and use of a community-scale food waste management system and preliminary design of a system that could include both recovery and recycling components.
The Village/Town of Potsdam Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Task Force initiated this project, however, Clarkson University leads the project's coordination. Clarkson University is committed to providing support through student and faculty involvement, marketing, and project management. CSC Task Force members and students and faculty from SUNY Potsdam and the Potsdam Central School will also contribute to the work. The core team includes Susan Powers (Clarkson), Jan DeWaters (Clarkson), Ray Bowdish (SUNY Potsdam), Rebecca Munn (Potsdam Central School), and Alex French (Clarkson).
The Climate Smart Communities program is coordinated through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Both the Village and Town are registered as participants and are working toward being certified and rated as CSC municipalities. For more information, see https://climatesmart.ny.gov/.
This project is critical for the region to meet the intent of a NYS Law that will require businesses and institutions that generate more than two tons of food waste per week to divert that waste from the landfill. A local food waste management solution is required for the Potsdam community by January 2022. This solution will help institutions meet this new requirement in a meaningful way and also support the needs of smaller food waste generators. Selected solutions will be defined through the lens of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy that prioritizes food recovery for people or animals. Non-edible wastes will be sent to an anaerobic digestion or composting facility to recover material and energy value from this resource.
Funding for this project was provided by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, which is sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the Environmental Protection Fund, and led by Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability.