Sign the pledge to support a 50% Reduction in Food Waste on Martha's Vineyard by 2030

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Fast Facts about Food Waste on Martha’s Vineyard

  • 6,500 tons of food that has been grown, processed, and transported to or around the island is shipped back off-island as waste.
  • It costs Islanders $622,180 a year, to transport and dispose of this food waste in landfills off-island each year. (This does not include residential tipping fees, pick-up costs or the tax dollars that help to underwrite waste removal.)
  • This wasted food represents 261 trucks on the steamship each way every year.

We can close the loop and recover edible food and redirect it to food insecure Islanders, and we can recycle what's left into compost and animal feed to enrich our island soils and our local food system.  Today we import about 5,400 cubic yards of bulk compost - that’s about 5,400 pick-up trucks full.

 Why care about food waste?

Climate Change - There are few things individuals and municipalities can do to really move the needle on greenhouse gas emissions to affect the climate trajectory in the short term. Managing food waste can impact emissions on a decade scale and change emissions rates and their effects in our own lifetime.

  • Food waste emits 8% of US greenhouse gas emissions per year.
  • In the US in 2014, landfill gas from food waste emitted the equivalent of 163 million tons of carbon dioxide, that’s about the yearly emissions of 31 million cars.
  • Over half is methane gas, which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide but has a fraction of the atmospheric life - 12 years - meaning if methane release can be minimized, the climate impacts will be mitigated on a time scale of decades versus the centuries required by carbon dioxide.
  • When food waste is composted and applied to soil, it sequesters 27,000 lbs. more carbon dioxide per acre than untreated soil.

A secure and equitable US food system - 40% of all food produced in US is thrown away at a cost of $165 billion and represents the largest component (21%) of municipal solid waste. Much of this wasted food is still edible and could be redirected to the 40 million Americans, 12 million of them children, who are food insecure.

Why food waste matters on Martha’s Vineyard

Food security is a major issue on Martha’s Vineyard where 40% of Island students qualify for free or reduced lunch programs and many of our seniors continue to struggle with access to healthy food.

As an island, Martha’s Vineyard has the opportunity to set an example and build a replicable food waste management model that positively impacts people, the planet, and our pockets. 

What can you do?

  • Sign the pledge and join the Martha's Vineyard Food Waste Initiative work towards an island goal of a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030.
  • Ask your Board of Selectman representatives, your town health officials and your planning board what they plan to do to manage  food waste on island.