IWRC awarded grant to continue food waste reduction efforts

Posted on Monday, October 5th, 2015

Joe Bolick, Communications and Public Relations Manager, Iowa Waste Reduction Center, 319-273-6577,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761, 

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- A new national food waste reduction goal has been set by government agencies just in time for the Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC) at the University of Northern Iowa to begin a new grant-funded project to continue its progressive action of reducing food waste in Iowa and diverting it from landfills.

"The national goal announced last week is to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030. Achieving that is going to require a collaborative effort throughout many industries," says Dan Nickey, IWRC's associate director. Through past projects, the IWRC has learned that food waste producers in Iowa have the desire to reduce food waste, but need assistance on how to actually reduce the waste, or divert it to other sources rather than the landfill.

 "That is the primary goal for the new project, to provide direct on-site technical assistance to educate businesses on how to reduce food waste and divert it from the landfill," explains Nickey. "It's projects like this that are going to build the foundation to reach that 50 percent reduction goal for America."

Jenny Trent, environmental specialist at the IWRC, will be leading the project. "Opportunities to reduce food waste are everywhere, but to reduce it, we need to start by calculating food waste generation rates. Once generation rates are calculated, the IWRC will focus on helping entities track reductions through donation to food banks, feeding farm animals and composting or biodigesting."

The year-long project began Oct. 1, 2015 with $83,000 funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Services. It is the third USDA grant for the IWRC. The first was completed in 2013-2014 focusing on waste reduction within the construction and demolition industry, followed by a current project focused on food waste compost education that was completed on Sept. 30.

For more information about IWRC’s food waste reduction efforts, visit