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10-04-21 Food Waste Recycling

Guests James Corwin and Chris Ratcliffe, Co-Directors of the RI Schools Recycling Club

In July, Rhode Island approved a legislative bill titled School Waste Recycling and Refuse Disposal. The legislation requires all K-12 and vocational schools to produce a “waste audit” report. This report should include guidelines and strategies that will eliminate food waste, promote recycling and provide excess food to nearby communities. This process is expected to begin in January, 2022… So, how might schools begin to engage in this effort? Guests James Corwin and Chris Ratcliffe founded the RI Schools Recycling Club twenty years ago in partnership with the RI Resource Recovery Corporation and the RI Department of Environmental Management. Recently the club was awarded a Healthy Communities Grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency to fund the “Get Food Smart, RI” challenge – a two-year food waste recycling initiative. Corwin and Ratcliffe have already been guiding individual schools in implementing programs for reducing, recovering and recycling food waste. They are dedicated to educating the next generation of environmental leaders and providing students with the tools they need to create sustainable solutions. This episode begins with a walking investigation through a school lunch area.

Jim Corwin’s career spans decades in both radio and marketing. He has coordinated numerous Earth Day cleanups, promotions and concerts in partnership with the RI Department of Environmental Management. In 2019, with a grant from The RI Attorney General’s Office, Jim led a project to measure food waste in RI Schools, and we’ll be hearing more about this later in the show.

Chris Ratcliffe has worked as a marketing consultant for decades, having spent years in the broadcasting industry. In partnership with the Environment Council of RI Education Fund, Chris spearheaded an effort to divert food waste from RI public schools as early as 2005. Chris is an associate professor at the Community College of Rhode Island and a Lecturer at Bryant University, and occasionally teaches business classes at the RI Adult Correctional Facility in Cranston.


Read the “School Waste Recycling And Refuse Disposal” legislation details

Visit the RI Schools Recycling Club website –

Request a “waste audit” –

Download the “Food Smart” Tool Kit –

Find more “Educational and Program Support” materials –

Play the “Waste Sorting Game” and test your knowledge –

Learn more at , email or call 401 529-6830. Connect with Wendy to order copies of FiddlesticksThe Angel Heart or Storywalker Wild Plant Magic Cards.

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