- Associated Press - Saturday, January 2, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The adage that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure is coming to the world of food in Vermont.

Vermont Public Radio reports (https://bit.ly/1NLv8f4 ) that food saved by the state’s universal recycling law is being put to use by the Vermont Foodbank and food shelves around the state.

Much of the waste that has gone to the state’s landfills over the years actually is good-quality food. It’s now being diverted to the Foodbank, where it’s checked thoroughly to make sure it’s still fresh and wholesome before being sent to regional food distribution centers.

“Food rescue is up 30 percent year to date,” said Alex Bornstein, the Foodbank’s chief operations officer. “Our network partner pick-ups from retail establishments are up 209 percent. Our overall waste is down 56 percent. Under half a percent of what we bring in here goes to waste, which is generally pig food or compost, it doesn’t go into landfill. Our pounds distributed overall in Vermont through all of our locations are up 25 percent this year.”

Partner agencies pick up unwanted food from grocery stores and food companies and farmers also donate food that perhaps has a labeling mistake or produce that is not the right size for the wholesale market.

Before the universal recycling law, 60,000 tons of food was discarded each year in Vermont, the Agency of Natural Resources estimates. The agency said an estimated 30 to 40 percent of it was edible.

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