“In February, a trash audit at the Pell Elementary School in Newport recovered 238 pounds of food scrap from a single day. The collected food included 45 pounds of unopened yogurt containers, cheese sticks and raisins, and untouched fruit,” Tim Faulkner of ecoRI news writes this week in Food Scrap Being Wasted at Rhode Island Schools.

The results of that trash audit prompted Representative Lauren Carson (D. Dist. 75, Newport) to file a bill (H7699) that would require school waste haulers and other vendors to comply with state recycling and composting laws.

“That’s the waste from just one school in one day”, Representative Carson told What’sUpNewp on Thursday. “Something needs to be done”.

Newport Public Schools participates in the Federal Free and Reduced meal program, over 60 percent of the lunches served in Rhode Island through that program are served free or at the reduced price.

This bill as submitted would require schools to comply with composting and recycling laws, would promote the donation of unspoiled nonperishable food by schools, and would promote the selection of local food service companies for school food service contracts.

Representative Carson believes that incentives should be considered for businesses that do the right thing when it comes to composting and recycling, she expects the bill filed to see a few changes as things are added and removed to get this right.

Carson also started a House food recovery study commission that intends to issue a report on recovery incentives by the end of June.

ecoRI news reports that “Newport and other municipalities are working with their school districts to come up with waste and food recovery plans for the 2018-19 school year.”

David Hanos, Chair of Newport School Committee, could not be immediately reached for comment on this story.

According to the National Resources Defense Council, up to 40 percent of the food in the United States is never eaten. But at the same time, one in eight Americans struggles to put enough food on the table.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.