Eliminating food waste
A student organization is working hard to eliminate food waste by collecting and redistributing leftovers to nonprofit groups.
The UIC Food Recovery Network acts as a liaison between those who donate and nonprofit organizations that need the chapter’s support, said organizer Jullie Han. Members collect at least one donation a week to help those in need.
Student organizers took to the cause in 2014, fundraising and creating partnerships between UIC Dining Services and La Casa Norte and Pacific Garden Mission, two homeless shelters in the Chicago area.
“Other than being a nonprofit organization, there aren’t many requirements for who we donate to,” said Han, a junior in communication. “We try to get the healthy food and the donations need to be kept fresh or frozen until distribution.”
Coordinators of the UIC chapter said a major component of food waste is the miscalculation of a product’s expiration date.
“Just because the foods look ugly or the banana is getting brown, even though it’s still perfectly good inside, they would just throw it out,” Han said.
Food Recovery Network organizers have joined with the UIC College of Cycling to reduce their carbon footprint even further. Instead of driving donations, they attach wagons to the back of bicycles and cycle them to La Casa Norte during warm weather months.
The UIC Food Recovery Network attempts conservation in all aspects of their mission to reduce food waste. Student organizers plan to increase these efforts by continuing to work with UIC Dining Services and establishing partnerships with some restaurants near campus.
Volunteers are vital to their plans.
“I think the main thing we need is growth. If every day we had a different volunteer or a donation from a different restaurant to a different community, we’d get there,” said Jenny Bueno, senior in Earth and environmental science.
Students interested in volunteering can email Han at email@example.com