Food Diversion and Recycling in Milwaukee

Landfills in Milwaukee are reaching capacity and 25% of their contents are made up of compostable material. If we continue at this rate, our city will require new landfills, which are costly and space consuming. The solution lies in composting and recycling of decomposible material. By 2020 Mayor Barrett, in efforts with the Environmental Collaboration Office, has set a goal of diverting 40% of wasted food that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Facts and Figures

  • The average American throws away 12,000 pounds of waste each year that could be composted and kept out of landfills
  • The U.S. is the number one trash producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year
  • Organic waste in landfills generates methane, a potent green house gas. By composting wasted food and other organics, methane emissions are significantly reduced
  • Compost can provide cost savings over conventional soil, water, and air pollution remediation technologies
  • In 2010, every American on average sent 2128.9 pounds of wasted food for disposal from their homes, restaurants, and school and work cafeterias
  • In 2013, 37 million tons of food waste was generated with only 5% of it being diverted from landfills or incinerators

The Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Compost Project Milwaukee

Chancellor Rebecca Blank of University of Wisconsin-Madison recognized Cream City Farms, Compost Crusaders, Blue Ribbon Compost, Purple Cow Organics, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Milwaukee County Extension, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for "The Compost Project". This project served as a systems approach to food waste composting for urban agriculture in Milwaukee and engaged researchers, students, compost haulers and producers, public agency staff, and urban agriculture farmers and gardeners.

compost award

What is Food Diversion?

Waste diversion, specifically in the case of food, means the process of diverting or changing the course of waste. Food and other waste that would usually end up in landfills is composted or recycled and, in the process, diverted from landfills. The success of the diversion efforts can be measured by comparing the size of a landfill from one year to the next. By diverting waste from landfills, we can preserve our natural resources.

See What Wisconsin & the Rest of the U.S. Has Done:

Interactive Excess Food Opportunities Map of the U.S.

Food Diversion Map - EPA

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