Initiative in Westchester County Aims to Reduce Food Waste

by Kris Venezia
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Food Bank

Steve Rhode, flickr 

County Executive Robert Astorino teams up with non-profits to keep edible food out of the trash.

A new program in Westchester County aims to get more food to those in need.

The food rescue initiative will take untouched leftovers from places including schools and hospitals, then redistribute the meals to feed the hungry. Lou Vetrone, Deputy Commissioner at Westchester's Department of Environmental Facilities, said the goal of the program is to get food out of the trash and to those in need.

"It's food that would otherwise be going in the trash," said Vetrone. "[The food] wouldn't get used by the people who need it most. We're going to get that food rescued and outward where it needs to be."

He also said a report by the county shows there's a lot of edible food that ends up in the trash.

"Well over 20% of garbage is made up of food waste, so there is an enormous amount of waste that can be rescued."

The Food Bank for Westchester estimates that around 100,000 county residents rely on food assistance programs. County Executive Robert Astorino said the program will help bring that number down.

"No one in this county should ever go hungry," Astorino said. "Our local food pantries, soup kitchens and houses of worship do a great job fighting hunger but they could always use more food supply." 

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, about 40% of edible food in the United States is wasted. 

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