At a Glance
Food and Agriculture
Alex Rehbinder identified innovative food waste solutions by mapping the food system and engaging food waste generators in Lane County, Oregon.
Reducing food waste is a top priority for Lane County, as one-in-five residents are currently food insecure, food waste is a top emitter of GHG emissions, and food represents the largest portion of waste that enters landfill. Lane County enlisted Alex Rehbinder to map the entirety of the County’s food system and to identify food waste solutions that address the growing environmental, social, and economic impacts of non-recovered food waste.
Alex Rehbinder addressed the challenge using a three-pronged approach:
- Map the flow of food in Lane County, to provide a more comprehensive picture of food and food waste, and to understand barriers to food waste prevention and recovery.
- Inventory and survey the County’s food establishments. Rehbinder led critical groundwork that collected data from local food establishments of food produced and food wasted (landfilled). The data collected will be used to establish a database that will be used to develop a dynamic geographic information system (GIS) map and communication platform that connects producers and redistribution partners in Lane County’s food system.
- Engage a wide range of the Lane County food system stakeholders to identify infrastructure gaps and needs.
By creating the first directory of Lane County's food establishments and mapping the overall food system, an engagement and survey campaign reached 1,993 food establishments to reduce the 45,987 tons of landfilled food and organics entering the waste stream manually. As a result, Lane County Waste Management has a path forward to connect the county’s food establishments with food recovery organizations. The engagement survey was also helpful in identifying specific resources and areas where Lane County can better support and engage food producers and food recovery partners.