the Central Ohio Solid Waste Authority (SWACO) published a study that was conducted in the spring and summer of 2021 to assess the effectiveness of the authority’s Save More Than Food campaign, as well as current attitudes, behaviors and barriers to the diversion of food waste from landfill Franklin County Sanitary.
The study, funded in part by a federal grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was conducted in the city of Upper Arlington by The Ohio State University (OSU) as part of SWACO’s efforts to divert food waste from landfill. The study pooled research from more than 1,600 participants.
According to SWACO, participants who received Save More Than Food materials reduced the amount of food waste they created by 21%. Over the study period, Upper Arlington’s three food waste collection points also saw a 40% increase in usage after households received information about the program.
“Not only is food waste the largest source of material going into the county landfill, [but] it also presents one of the best opportunities to increase diversion and help slow climate change,” said Kyle O’Keefe, SWACO’s Director of Innovation and Programs.
In addition to documenting a decrease in the amount of waste created by these households, the study also documented the following:
- 57% of respondents think Save More Than Food is effective in raising awareness of the prevalence of food waste in Central Ohio
- 40% believe the Save More Than Food campaign has motivated them to take action to reduce food waste
- Access to a curbside composting program was the top answer for how to increase composting in the city
“Evidence collected in Upper Arlington suggests that community implementation of campaigns such as Save More Than Food can advance food waste reduction,” says Brian Roe, OSU professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. , Environment and Development, which helped assess the effectiveness of the initiative.
“The results of the study were eye-opening. We have learned that it is not enough to have a program in place to collect food waste; the educational component is critical to sustaining a successful program,” says Katy Rees, performance analyst at the City of Upper Arlington.
The City of Upper Arlington is using the results to inform decisions about how best to expand the program. This spring, the city will pilot a curbside food waste collection. Work is already underway in the towns of Gahanna and New Albany, which will open new food waste collection sites in the coming month, as well as implementing the Save More Than Food campaign in their communities.
They join the cities of Bexley, Dublin, Grandview Heights, Grove City, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, Westerville and Worthington which have all previously launched food waste drop-off points in central Ohio with support from SWACO.
SWACO is currently evaluating ways to improve composting infrastructure in central Ohio, which would help create opportunities for increased food waste composting and support curbside collection programs in the county. of Franklin.
To see the full results of the study once finalized, visit www.savemorethanfood.org.