Zero is the Favorite Number for Waste Fighter

Bart Bartels calls the shots at the Fighting Illini’s Zero Waste football game during Homecoming.

ISTC’s Bart Bartels has joined the Purchasing, Waste, and Recycling  SWATeam at the U of I. It is one of six SWATeams (Sustainability Working Advisory Teams) helping evaluate the university’s progress since the 2010 Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP). Their work will be important for the formulation of the next iCAP later this year.


As Sustainability Outreach Specialist at ISTC, Bart has helped organize zero-waste events on campus. The next one will be the Naturally Illinois EXPO  (with something for all K-12 students) sponsored by the Prairie Research Institute. Bart also is the driving force behind the Illinois Green Office Challenge.


He has also worked as Zero Waste Coordinator within campus Facilities & Services and Campus Sustainability Manager at Grand Valley State University (MI). The SWATeams will be important to the successful updating of the iCAP this year by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.

Upcoming Food Waste Training & Toolkit Piloting Opportunities

Several upcoming training opportunities are available for those interested in zero waste, specifically the reduction of waste in food service operations.


The US EPA Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) program will present a webinar on January 15, 2015, entitled “Food Waste Reduction Alliance, a Unique Industry Collaboration.” The webinar will take place from 12:00 to 1:30 PM CST. Online registration is available.


As defined by EPA, sustainable materials management (SMM) is “a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire lifecycles. It represents a change in how our society thinks about the use of natural resources and environmental protection. By examining how materials are used throughout their lifecycle, an SMM approach seeks to:

  • Use materials in the most productive way with an emphasis on using less;
  • Reduce toxic chemicals and environmental impacts throughout the material life cycle;
  • Assure we have sufficient resources to meet today’s needs and those of the future.”

The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) is a collaborative project of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (representing food and beverage companies), the Food Marketing Institute (representing food retailers), and the National Restaurant Association (representing the food service industry), working to reduce food waste generation, increase food donations to the needy, and to divert unavoidable food waste from landfills through recycling.


In addition to the webinar overview of the FWRA, there will be a series of free webinars to guide users through the waste assessment and reduction process presented in the Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit (available at All are welcome to participate. The schedule for that series is below. Click on a webinar title to register online.


US EPA Region 9 is also inviting food service facilities (restaurants, cafeterias, grocers, and other commercial and institutional kitchens) in California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands to pilot the toolkit. Along with the free webinar series, pilot participants are offered one-on-one technical assistance from an EPA team member; the opportunity to participate in peer groups to troubleshoot the tracking process; the chance to present in future EPA webinars; and the ability to jumpstart or enhance participation in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. Learn more about the opportunity to pilot the Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit at


Questions can be directed to Amanda Hong at Thanks to Amanda for sharing information on these opportunities.