Championing Food Waste Reduction: Waste Free Greenwich Celebrates Local “Waste Warriors”

By Avery Imp and Victoria Liu, GHS class of 2023

On Monday, May 22, Waste Free Greenwich hosted the 2023 Waste Warrior Awards to honor local champions of food waste reduction.

Julie DesChamps, founder and chair of Waste Free Greenwich explained that Waste Free Greenwich was established in 2019 to help develop and implement the municipal food scrap recycling program. Their mission has expanded to include engaging, educating, and empowering the Greenwich community to waste less.

All of the restaurant Waste Warriors that were in attendance stand with Beth Evans, the new director of the Greenwich Conservation Commission, and Julie DesChamps, Waste Free Greenwich founder and chair. May 22, 2023 Photo: Avery Imp
New Lebanon School receives a Waste Warrior award. May 22, 2023 Photo: Avery Imp

Waste Free Greenwich has spearheaded the Greenwich Food Waste Initiative, which has led several projects to reduce food waste in Greenwich and brought together Town agencies and committees, non-profits, businesses, and other entities to prevent, rescue, and recycle food waste.

One of these projects is the Greenwich Food Matters Challenge, hosted by Waste Free Greenwich in collaboration with the Greenwich Conservation Commission and Center for EcoTechnology. Six local restaurants were recognized with Waste Warrior Awards for their participation in this challenge during which they took important actions to reduce their food waste, such as composting and donating surplus food.

These restaurants were Nit Noi Provisions, Ruby & Bella’s, Something Natural, Upper Crust Bagel, Greenwich Cheese Company, and Little Pub.

DesChamps also thanked several community partners that supported these restaurants as they worked toward their goals, including the Center for EcoTechnology; Food Rescue US, Fairfield County; Curbside Compost; and the Greenwich Conservation Commission.

Additionally, the Greenwich Food Scrap Recycling Program allows residents to take part in the mission to reduce food waste, and it has been an outstanding success. DesChamps stated, “Since its launch in 2020, the Greenwich Food Scrap Recycling Program has diverted over 144 tons, or 288,00 lbs, of food from our waste stream to be converted to compost.” 

Describing how the program works, she explained that residents separate all food scraps at home and drop them off at locations around town. Curbside Compost picks up this organic material and transports it to New Milford Farms for processing.

“Each spring, Waste Free Greenwich offers free compost to participants for use in their gardens, bringing the process full circle,” she added.

DesChamps recognized Holly Hill Resource Recovery Facility, Living Hope Community Church, and Round Hill Community Church as the locations for food scrap drop-off programs, and presented each of them with a Waste Warrior Award.

The goal of making Greenwich more sustainable was also extended to the Greenwich Public Schools with the Zero Waste School initiative. She presented a Waste Warrior Award to New Lebanon School, which “has served as a model for the district, setting a high bar for what can be achieved.” 

New Lebanon School has implemented a comprehensive waste reduction program, initiated a food scrap recycling pilot, and replaced disposal molded fiber trays with reusable stainless steel trays.