Food Waste in America; Source: Wiki Commons

Over 40% of the food produced in the United States – and the energy, water and money used to produce it – is never used to feed someone – it is wasted somewhere between farm and table. Green Needham’s food waste project aims at the parts of that chain where we can make a difference:

  • reducing waste,
  • getting food to those in need,
  • utilizing the remaining waste for uses such as compost or energy generation.

Effective October 1, 2014, all Massachusetts businesses and institutions disposing of over one ton of commercial organic material per week are required to divert that organic material from disposal as trash. This threshold was lowered to a half-ton per week on November 1, 2022.  This law has brought focus to the food waste problem and motivated food establishments to find creative solutions to reducing waste.

Our Initiatives:

Increasing food waste composting – Green Needham is collaborating with the Needham RTS, Needham Schools, and Needham residents to divert food waste from the waste stream and send it to a waste-to-energy facility in Maine run by Agri-Cycle.  Residents can drop off their food waste – including things like meat and dairy that can not be composted at home – in containers at the RTS in the area adjacent to the textile and book
recycling containers (which are adjacent to the salt shed).

What You Can Do:

Educational Programs

  • Food Waste workshop. On June 7, 2016, Green Needham and RecyclingWorks presented a free workshop for food service businesses in Needham, Newton, Wellesley, and other neighboring communities interested in learning about diverting wasted food from the trash through food donation, composting, and other waste diversion strategies.
  • Documentary Film. On April 10, 2016 Green Needham cosponsored a free film showing at First Parish in Needham, Unitarian Universalist. The award-winning 75-minute documentary about food waste, “Just Eat It,” was inspired by the book American Wasteland, by Wellesley High graduate Jonathan Bloom.
  • “Too Good to Waste: Creative Solutions for Reducing Food Waste” was presented on October 22, 2015 at the Needham Library.  Joshua Cook, Green Business Specialist for the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection, and Greg Smith, the Superintendent of the Needham RTS, spoke about state and local actions to reduce food waste. Food waste reduction tips for households were provided. The program was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Needham.

Get Involved!

We can have a real and lasting impact on reducing food waste in Needham over the next one to two years, but we can’t do it without getting more people involved. Your energy and ideas can make a huge difference in how much we accomplish. If you’d like to help, or just want to know more, please reach out to Jay Delaune, Green Needham’s team leader for Food Waste and Recycling.


Increasing food waste composting – In November, 2014, when the State implemented a food waste ban on institutions that generated one ton or more of food waste per week, Green Needham collaborated with local businesses, Needham Schools, the Town’s Recycling and Solid Waste Division and employee-owned cooperative CERO to enable more food service establishments implement food waste composting.  To help local businesses, Green Needham members developed an online food waste survey to collect information on how food waste is currently being handled by local food establishments.


Resources on the Web