Don’t Waste Food SC (DWFSC) is a collaborative campaign that brings together public- and private-sector stakeholders dedicated to sharing knowledge, coordinating resources, and working together to reduce food waste in South Carolina. Wasting food in turn wastes resources. Simple practices can put these resources to better use by feeding people in need, creating products and energy, diverting material from landfills, and creating jobs. The DWFSC campaign is designed to increase the awareness of the economic, environmental and social impacts of wasted food; and inspire individuals, businesses, schools, communities and others to take action through waste reduction, recovery and composting.
How was the Project Started?
South Carolina created the campaign to address the long-standing food waste issue. The state is generating an estimated 600,000-plus tons of food waste each year with a recovery rate of less than 2 percent. The first key step to starting the project was revising the state’s composting regulation to provide industry a clear path to permit food waste composting facilities. The second step was to develop an overall plan of outreach and technical assistance to support the new regulation that, in turn, would help develop infrastructure and increase recovery. DWFSC is the centerpiece of the second step.
When was the Project Started?
The project officially kicked off on July 13, 2016.
When was the Project Completed, or is it Ongoing?
The project is ongoing.
What are the Results to Date?
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) has held four regional media events to promote the campaign, developed a clearinghouse website with information for all types of audiences, and created printed material. The agency provided grant funding to local governments to support this initiative. Local govenrments, food banks, food rescure organizations, and other stakeholders have adopted the campaign. One of the biggest steps so far is providing a postcard for our food inspectors to drop off at restaurants following inspections. The postcard encourages donation and shares information on liability protection for donation.
SCDHEC created a first-time partnership with the SC Department of Education to promote food waste prevention and composting in schools. The agency then developed “Reducing Food Waste: A Guide for South Carolina Schools,” which provides comprehensive recommedations to schools and school districts on this issue. SCDHEC added a food waste lesson in the state’s K-12 curriculum supplement (they train about 1,200 teachers and present to more than 30,000 students each year with this curriculum). In addition, the agency added chapters to two certification programs (one for local government and one for college/university recycling professionals).
SCDHEC is working closely with the SC Department of Commerce’s (SCDOC) recycling market development section to get grocery stores involved in the project. The agency is developing marketing material to post in stores throughout the state. SCDHEC also developed a DWFSC YouTube channel, and the SCDOC created a DWFSC Facebook page.
The first annual DWFSC Summit was held in July 2017 to discuss plans for the upcoming year. SCDHEC sits on the Columbia Food Policy Council and will work with other organizations that address the issue.
What are the Resources Needed, including Time, Cost, Etc.?
SCDHEC has three staff working on this campaign who spend anywhere from 30-50 percent of their time on this project. The agency hired a graphic artist to create campaign materials. Other programs in the agency contribute time to checking material, sharing information, and making presentatons (e.g, food protection division).
- Richard Chesley
- S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
- Program Manager