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Did you know that nearly 1 million pounds of food is sent to landfill every single day by residents and businesses in central Ohio? When food goes to waste, so does all of the time, money, and resources that went into producing and distributing it, not to mention the opportunities we miss to help those in need in our community.

By working together, we can make changes that improve our community and stop valuable resources from going to waste.

Researchers at The Ohio State University are working with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) and the City of Upper Arlington to test the effectiveness of various food waste diversion education materials and activities. These outreach materials share tools, tips, tricks, and opportunities to connect with local resources to reduce your food waste at home so that you can save money, resources, and meals for hungry neighbors. This study will focus on documenting behaviors related to food waste and learn how central Ohioans can best conserve resources, meals, and money by reducing food waste. Insights from this study in Upper Arlington will inform future food waste reduction outreach efforts across the central Ohio region and beyond.

PROJECT DETAILS

In 2020, SWACO and The Ohio State University were awarded a grant from the US EPA to evaluate the effectiveness of the Save More Than Food campaign. Those funds will support the implementation of the campaign in Upper Arlington, as well as surveys and waste audits that measure changes in food waste behaviors and attitudes. The project runs from February-June of 2021 and learnings will be shared across other central Ohio communities and beyond.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

The study involves an initial 5-minute survey which will include instructions on how to monitor the types and quantities of food being discarded in your home over the following week. At the end of the week, you’ll receive a follow up survey to report on your food waste efforts throughout the week.

You are free to stop participating at any point without jeopardizing your access to services or events provided by The Ohio State University, SWACO or the City of Upper Arlington.

*Survey respondents must be 18 years or older and should be responsible for at least half of the food preparation duties taking place in your home.

ABOUT "SAVE MORE THAN FOOD"

In 2018, SWACO convened nonprofit, education, government and business entities to work together to reduce food waste in central Ohio. Calling itself the Central Ohio Food Waste Initiative (COFWI), the group published the Central Ohio Food Waste Action Plan in May 2019 with the ultimate goal to cut food waste in half by 2030. Creating a consumer education campaign was one of the priority initiatives identified in order to lay a foundation for future diversion work.

Save More Than Food” was launched in September, 2020 to communicate an important message – that when food goes to waste, so does all of the time, money and resources that went into producing it. The numbers are startling. Wasted food accounts for an estimated $106 million in economic loss in central Ohio. In addition, 22 million gallons of gas and 41 billion gallons of water are used every year to grow and transport food that never gets eaten.

In 2020, SWACO was also awarded $60,000 in grant funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate the effectiveness of the Save More Than Food campaign. Those funds will support the implementation of the campaign in Upper Arlington, as well as surveys and waste audits that measure changes in food waste behaviors and attitudes. The project runs from February-June of 2021 and learnings will be shared and applied across other central Ohio communities and beyond.

Visit the campaign webpage to learn how you can make a difference at SaveMoreThanFood.org.

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