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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

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Reducing Food Waste in Cupertino – Project Description

The City of Cupertino's innovative efforts are threefold. First, in 2010, the city revised its franchise agreement with Recology, setting a goal to achieve 75% diversion of material from landfills within five years. The city's franchise agreement stipulates that the 75% diversion goal must be met in order for Recology's contract with the city to be extended another five years. Diverting food waste from landfills was identified as the primary means for meeting the 75% goal. Recology stepped up to the challenge and is actively doing outreach and training to local businesses to help them recover food that would otherwise end up in the trash.

Second, in 2012, the city, EPA's Pacific Southwest office, and Recology teamed up to put on a workshop for local grocers and markets to discuss the benefits of food recovery and help them take steps to avoid generating food waste, donate leftover food, or compost food scraps. These efforts led local markets such as Marina Food to start recovering food or expand existing food recovery practices.

Third, in 2013, the city expanded the training and assistance it offers to local businesses during stormwater compliance inspections to encompass food recovery. Helping businesses maintain cleaner trash bins by using separate compost bins to recover food waste and associated packaging demonstrates the benefits that food recovery can have in keeping trash out of our waterways.

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