In local efforts to eliminate food waste, ‘Southfield and Wixom are pioneers’ as new programs debut

What’s happening: Two metro Detroit communities are getting serious about eliminating food waste, rolling out new programs that can help get the ball rolling in Michigan’s efforts to cut its amount of landfilled food in half by the year 2030. More than two billion pounds of food are dumped in Michigan landfills each year, per the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE).

Who it is: The cities of Southfield and Wixom have both recently announced new programs to cut down food waste, with the former announcing a strategic partnership with a local nonprofit and the latter launching a unique-to-the-area food scrap program.

Why it’s important: “Efforts by Michigan cities are key to achieving Michigan’s food waste reduction strategy,” says Jeff Spencer, a manager in the EGLE’s Materials Management Division. “Southfield and Wixom are pioneers in this effort. EGLE expects other cities to follow in the footsteps of the work initiated by these progressive communities.”

In Southfield: The Detroit-based nonprofit Make Food Not Waste wants to divert 100 percent of cities' food waste – and they’re starting with Southfield. The nonprofit is analyzing best practices for food waste reduction nationwide, developing a plan for Southfield to implement come fall. Once their pilot program in Southfield is established, Make Food Not Waste will look to replicate the process in other cities.

Make Food Not Waste is hosting a Community Feast event beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Southfield Pavilion. The event is free and open to the public, featuring lunch, informative discussions on eliminating food waste in Southfield and beyond, and more. More information and registration for the event is available online.

And in Wixom: The City of Wixom recently made headlines for its recently launched Food Scrap Program, offering residents weekly curbside pickup for food waste. Food scraps will be composted with yard waste for use in gardens and city projects. Spurt Industries, Green for Life, and Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County have partnered with Wixom on the program, more information of which is available online.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.