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Food Waste Prevention Tips
Waste Matters – On The Air
Grocery Recovery
Food Recovery in Salem-Keizer Schools
America Recycles Day
Just Eat It - A food waste story
Salem Food Cooperation
Master Recycler Tour
Home-scale Waste to Energy
Master Recycler Class
Willamette Zero Waste
Volunteer Payback

One great, strong, unselfish soul
in every community could actually redeem the world.
-Elbert Hubbard

Top 10 Food Waste Prevention Tips

More food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in municipal solid waste. In 2012 alone, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated, with only five percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting (EPA). There's a simple solution to stop food waste that is better for the environment, as well as our budgets. Here are simple ways to prevent food going to waste at home.
  1. Reduce Over-purchasing - Create a meal calendar or implement a system to ensure that you only purchase what you need when you need it. Pepperplate, a free mobile app, provides meal planning tools that helps organize your recipe collection, plans meals based on those recipes, creates shopping lists, and helps you cook the recipes you want to try.
  2. Clean your plate and your fridge - When dining in or out, save those leftovers. A simple tip is to save a list of leftovers on your refrigerator so you'll know what should be used before buying more.
  3. Rethink Leftovers - Leftover bread can become croutons, excess rice can become fried rice, leftover fruit can be a dessert topping, and vegetable trimmings can help form a base for soups, sauces, and stocks. Search online for inventive ways to reuse your food.
  4. Store it Right - Did you know that storing greens in an airtight container with a wet paper towel can make them last weeks longer? Check out this handy guide for proper food storage: A to Z guide on food storage.
  5. Sharing is Caring - If you have prolific fruit trees or if you are an overzealous baker, there are plenty of opportunities for you to share. Check out Cherry City Food Swappers, share with neighbors, or share your crop with Salem Harvest.
  6. Explore Cooperative Buying - Salem Food Cooperative encourages splitting large orders via their ordering system. Not only does it reduce food and packaging waste, it also benefits buyers financially since splitting a larger amount gives buyers access to lower prices per pound.
  7. You can Preserve that - Make the freezer your friend by freezing foods you won’t be able to eat before they spoil. Find tips for freezing and other preservation methods at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
  8. Shop the Bulk Bins - Purchase only what you need from bulk bins at your local grocery store, and take reuse containers with you to reduce packaging. 
  9. Grow your Scraps - save kitchen scraps to grow new foods, from potatoes and onions to avocados.
  10. When all else fails, compost - Some foods will always have scraps, like oranges and bananas. When you do create food waste, learn how you can turn it into nutrient-rich soil at home.
Do you have food waste prevention tips to share? Visit us on facebook and let us know what works best for you!

Waste Matters – On The Air

Tune in every other Thursday at 1:00 pm as host Alan Pennington chats with guests about their interesting and innovative waste reduction programs!  The show broadcasts on 88.5 FM and streams online at

November 6 -  Kristi Reed and Sherry Miotke from the Grand Hotel and Bentley's Grill will discuss waste reduction for businesses. The 
in Salem

November 20 - Ashley Zanolli will discuss solutions for reducing food waste. Ashley is head of the West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum Co-lead For EPA Region 10 and Co-chair of the Zero Food Waste Forum.

Grocery Recovery

Every weekday morning, Marion-Polk Food Share drivers collect perishable food that is close to its sell-by date but still has significant nutritional value. This food recovery program is a partnership with several local grocery stores, including Fred Meyer, Walmart, Roth’s, Food 4 Less, Trader Joe's and Albertsons. There are currently 15 stores participating in this program across Marion and Polk counties.

The food recovery program seeks to increase local meat, dairy and produce donations. Since its inception in 2005, local grocery stores have donated more than 2.4 million pounds of nutritious food for our hungry neighbors.

Without this program, this food would have ended up in the landfill. But as a result of this retail food recovery program, donations are quickly sorted and distributed to area food pantries and soup kitchens, often the same day they are donated.

Food Recovery in Schools Update

Since 2012, Marion County and the Mid‐Valley Garbage & Recycling Association, in collaboration with the Salem‐Keizer School District, developed and implemented a plan to introduce a food waste collection program to all schools in the district. All elementary schools have successfully implemented the program and we estimate 333 tons of food was saved annually because of the program. Middle schools are now signing up as well. Claggett Creek, Houck, and Howard Street are the first middle schools to take part in the program, and we are working hard to add more middle schools to the list.

It‘s no surprise that school cafeterias generate large amounts of food waste. In Marion County, food waste accounts for 20% (by weight) of total waste disposed. It’s important to teach students that many natural resources are utilized in the production of food. With some support from school staff, much of the food disposed can be converted into valuable compost.

This effort couldn't have happened without the support of all the garbage haulers who went out of their way to make the program work. While children and staff are in charge of sorting and separating waste, the garbage haulers not only pick up the containers but also pressure wash each container after use to ease the workload on schools.

After collection, the food waste is transported to the Pacific Region Composting
facility, which has special permits to allow it to compost all food waste, including
meat, dairy, bones, seafood, etc. The finished compost is made available
to farms, vineyards, and the public at large.

Eventually, we hope to have a food recovery system for all grade levels in the Salem‐Keizer School District that gets students into the habit of separating their food waste so the process becomes second nature.

Food for thought: the average American spends $1,600 on food that they end up throwing away! 

America Recycles Day, November 15

An initiative of Keep America Beautiful (KAB), America Recycles Day is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S.

Each fall, thousands of communities across the country participate in ARD on and around November 15 to promote environmental citizenship and encourage action. Through ARD, KAB, along with its affiliates and partners, inspires communities to directly engage their residents to recycle more and recycle right 365 days a year.

Since its inception in 1997, thousands of communities across the country have participated in ARD throughout the fall. With KAB’s support, recycling ambassadors recruit thousands of organizations, schools, colleges and universities, businesses, and government entities to get involved in educating residents of all ages about recycling resources in their community through collection drives, demonstrations, competitions, tours, displays and other special events.

Become an America Recycles Day Event Organizer!

  • Join the national celebration and make a difference in your community
  • Feature your event on the national interactive event map
  • Get tips, tricks, templates and tools from Keep America Beautiful to help make your event the best it can be!

Just Eat It
A food waste story

Thursday, December 9
Doors open at 6:15p, Films begin at 7p
Grand Theater, 191 High Street NE, (corner of High and Court)
Admission $5

Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away. In a nation where one in 10 people is food insecure, the images they capture of squandered groceries are both shocking and strangely compelling. But as Grant’s addictive personality turns full tilt towards food rescue, the ‘thrill of the find’ has unexpected consequences.

Salem Food Cooperation

Salem Food Cooperation operates an online store to provide the community of Salem access to local, sustainable, organic, natural, and affordable food and goods. The online store functions like a combination of a food club and a multi-farm CSA, allowing you to participate in wholesale purchases of bulk goods as well as buy fresh foods and goods from local producers. The coop supports local, organic, fresh food and food producers - local organic farmers, bakers, coffee roasters, cheese makers, AND seafood producers. Port Orford Sustainable Seafood, a seafood cooperative, is a big supporter and supplier of freshly frozen seafood and canned tuna.  

All profit goes toward opening a physical retail store so they can serve you seven days a week! 

Salem Food Coop also offers a deep discount to folks who volunteer. Just 6 hours of time per month = 25% discount for non-members (or, stated another way, volunteers pay 5% over cost). 

Swap What You've Got

Want to learn more about Cherry City Food Swappers?  Listen to Beth Myers-Shenai interview Laurice Riddell, the organizer of Cherry City Food Swappers who walks us through a typical food swapping event, and gives tips for participating in one. Download (Duration: 23:34 — 21.6MB)

Congrats Roxanne!

Roxanne Shoemaker recently completed her 30 payback hours and is now a fully certified Master Recycler.

"I am a volunteer for Salem Kaiser Assistance League, a philanthropic organization that serves thousands of children in need in the Salem Kaiser schools. We raise money through consignment of goods and furniture at two locations, Daue House and Encore Furniture, as well as several large fund raisers. I am the chair of the RRR Committee. I took the Master Recycler course to gain as much information as I could to allow me to do my job more comprehensively and to allow me to be a source of correct information to my organization when needed.

I was impressed with the scope of knowledge that this course provided and felt each class and field trip offered a wealth of information. What has been the most useful to me, beyond the information gained in class, notebook, and field trips are the contacts we were given to call with questions. Recycling seems to be an ever-changing field and it is good to be able to be responsive to these changes. The ability to get good, correct information in a timely fashion is invaluable and something I use frequently."
-Roxanne Shoemaker

Events and Opportunities

Fall Leaf Haul

Saturday, December 6, 2014
9 a.m.-3 p.m.

  • Residential leaves and grass clippings only
  • Commercial landscapers not allowed
  • Collection locations include: State Fairgrounds, Sprague High School
    Wallace Marine Park

Senior citizens or those with disabilities in need of assistance hauling bagged leaves and grass to a collection site may call 503-588-6303. November 19, 2014 will be the last day to sign up for assistance.

Sponsored by the City of Salem, Marion County Public Works Environmental Services, Salem garbage/recycling haulers, and neighborhood and community groups.

Penny-Pincher Month

Thursday, November 6, 2014
, Loucks Auditorium, Salem Public Library

“Finding Wholesale Happiness in a Retail World” will be the focus of Jeff Yeager’s lively and humorous talk based on his bestselling book The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less.  He encourages others to “value time, and the things you can do with it, more than money, and the stuff you can buy with it.”  He was dubbed “The Ultimate Cheapskate” by Matt Lauer on the NBC TODAY show, where he has appeared as a guest correspondent.

Special Master Recycler Tour in December!

Have you ever wondered how computers, televisions and other electronics are recycled? Have you ever wondered where those plastic bags go when you drop them off at a Safeway store? This is your chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the gadgets in our lives are dismantled and shipped off for recycling by one of the largest e-waste recyclers in the nation and winner of the Association of Oregon Recyclers' 2013 Recycler of the Year award. Jason Kragerud from Universal Recycling Technologies will give a presentation and facility tour. Next we'll go down the street to Safeway's Clackamas Distribution Center where we'll get to hear from Mike Rosenau about the innovative ways that they have used their vast distribution fleet to create an industry leading recycling program. We will take vans so all you'll need to bring is a lunch. The tentative tour time is to depart the Marion County Public Works office at 9:00am and return by 2:00pm on either Wednesday, December 3rd or Tuesday, December 9th. Please indicate which day(s) you can attend by contacting Bailey ( -or- 503-365-3191). Space is limited to 14 people so sign up soon!

Home-scale Waste to Energy

Providing innovative solutions to real world problems is something that National Geographic Emerging Explore Thomas Culhane excels at. Culhane is an urban planner who implements home scale-solutions to environmental challenges throughout the world.

Currently he is working in remote villages that are off the grid to develop systems where table scraps and other organic waste creates biogas that can be used to heat a stove. His "artificial stomach", biogas digestor can create enough electric power to charge a cellphone or light a bulb which gives developing nations an alternative to installing a costly national power grid.

Culhane interprets his work with urban planning and engineering as being a “soldier on a different battle front.” Working in slums with sustainable technology is like basic training in geography, technology, and humanity, he says. Culhane believes everybody "can have the chance to live a dignified, healthy and sustainable life because it turns out that solving our energy and waste problems at the home scale isn't difficult at all!"

Ready for Change?

Take the Food Waste Challenge! It only takes about 10 minutes/week and you’ll learn how to make some easy changes and you’ll be amazed at how much food and money you’ll save!

Spread the News

Good news is too hard to keep quiet, so feel free to spread the word with family and friends about the Master Recycler class. Here are the details:

The next Master Recycler class begins Thursday, January 22, 2015 and will continue on Thursday evenings through March 5th. Most classes will be held from 6:15pm until 9:00pm at the Marion County Public Works office, located at 5155 Silverton Rd. NE, Salem. The training also includes two Saturday field trips to local recycling and composting facilities, which begin at 8:30am and finish by 3:30 pm. Volunteers will be expected to complete 30 hours of volunteer payback following the course.

Zero Waste Victory

This fall Willamette University hosted a Zero waste barbecue lunch for 350 people at McCulloch stadium during alumni weekend. The partnership between Athletics, Alumni Association, Bon Appetit, Facilities Services, the Sustainability Institute, and students Eric Spresser (pictured), Lettajoe Gallup, and Anya Romig was a huge success. Just look at their results:
  • 57 lbs composted
  • 23 lbs recycled
  • 13 lbs to the landfill*
  • 99% post consumer diversion rate
  • Everything except ketchup, mustard, & relish packets were composted or recycled

Volunteer Paypack

Wednesday, November 19
5:00pm - 6:00pm

A Master Recycler is needed to give a 5-10 min. talk to a small group of high school students about recycling, followed by an interactive quiz show. If you can help, please contact Bailey ( -or- 503-365-3191).

Calling all Master Recyclers
Master Recyclers are needed to lead waste audits at elementary schools. The dates are flexible. If you can help, please contact Bailey ( -or- 503-365-3191).
Copyright © 2014 Marion County Environmental Services, All rights reserved.

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