Mitchell Center offers talk about moving to a circular food system

Orono, Maine — The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine will host a talk about how food waste can be safely recovered and recycled from 3–4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22.   

New England is making progress toward a more circular food system, in which food waste is recovered rather than sent to a landfill. Some states have banned food waste from landfills, which lessens environmental concerns and stimulates new economic opportunities by producing heat, electricity and useful soil conditioners from recovered food waste. This movement is positive, but caution must be taken to avoid introducing contamination in the process. In this talk, UMaine researchers Jean MacRae and Cynthia Isenhour will describe the results of a recent study about potential contaminants in food waste, how food waste processors view the risks associated with them, and how to make a food system more circular, safe and sustainable. 

MacRae is an environmental microbiologist and associate professor in the UMaine Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In addition to teaching courses in environmental engineering, wastewater treatment, air pollution and solid waste management, she researches biological remediation and the roles of microbes in nutrient and element cycling. Isenhour is an ecological and economic anthropologist, associate professor of anthropology at UMaine and a cooperating faculty member at the Climate Change Institute. Her research focuses on how history, culture and power shape environmental governance and policy.  

The talk is free and available via Zoom; registration is required. To register and receive connection information, please visit the event webpage. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth, 207.581.3196;