Feeding a Circular Economy
There’s no reason why we can’t reduce food waste and packaging while feeding Philadelphians.
Philadelphia is already known as an international destination for food and restaurants. But even with all of this delicious dining, food waste makes up about 25% of Philadelphia’s waste stream, and in the U.S., 40% of all food is wasted before it can be eaten. This is unconscionable in a city with a 25% poverty rate and 16% food insecurity rate.
At Circular Philadelphia, we work with food recovery organizations and experts, tech companies, restaurateurs, grocers and city officials to reduce food waste, increase composting and develop systems for reusable packaging for the increased demand for take-out food during the pandemic.
Food Systems Initiatives
Offering reusable containers is one of the easiest things restaurants and food businesses can do to reduce the amount of waste they generate and implement circular principles. We worked with the Philadelphia Health Department to make it easy for restaurants to offer reusables and developed resources to help them get started.
Single-use plastics are one of the top environmental issues affecting our city and our planet. They litter our streets, leach chemicals into our food and clog our waterways. Through this policy initiative, we are working to limit their use in Philadelphia in favor of more circular products.
Until recently, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had no specific permit that would allow a smaller scale urban composting company to operate in a densely populated area, so a small composting operation was regulated in the same way as a large landfill. That has changed with the new Urban Composting Permit from the PA Department of Environmental Protection.
Food Systems Working Group
The Food Systems Working Group is a committee of Circular Philadelphia and is chaired by Nic Esposito. The working group focuses on circularity throughout Philadelphia’s food system by identifying and developing circular practices in regards to food recovery, composting, reusable food packaging and other needs identified by members. The working group will also work to lift up food businesses, organizations and individuals that are using circular principles to reduce waste and create resiliency in our food systems.
Current Projects and Areas of Focus
- Reusable to-go food container market transformation by increasing tech, entrepreneurism, incentives and regulations to spur more use of reusable to-go food containers by businesses.
- Promoting and expanding composting throughout Philadelphia
- Advocating for reductions of single use food packaging
- Supporting and increasing food recovery efforts in Philadelphia
If you are interested in joining the Food Systems Working Group, please contact us for more information.