Jessica's Zero Waste Challenge

FRN Board Member, Jessica Felix-Romero: Beginning the Journey

When I joined the Food Recovery Network board, it was because I passionately supported the mission of the largest student movement against food waste and hunger in America. Little did I realise that I would be also begin my own zero waste journey.  When I met fellow board member Claire Cummings, I was inspired by her commitment to reduce waste. During our first dinner out, she whipped out her metal straw at the restaurant and explained that she did not use plastic straws due to the environmental waste they created. And that was the start of my own “less waste” challenge. Every time I used a straw afterwards, I thought of Claire. I started noticing lots of  disposable plastics in my life.  I had the privilege of working with Claire as she developed the inaugural “zero-waste challenge” fundraiser for FRN.  I admired her dedication to going zero waste and we would talk about all the extra waste I would notice in my life during our weekly board committee calls. As her challenge drew to a close, I knew that it was my turn to take a stand against waste.

Alas, I am not yet the “Waste Ace” that Claire is but I want to earn my waste warrior badge (take the  test below and find out if you are a waste warrior).  So I am going to be sharing my journey of going “waste-less” for the month of June.  Each week for the month, I will select a type of waste and go waste-free for that item for a full week.

And in the spirit of putting my money where my convictions are, every time that I use the item of the week whether intentionally or not, I will put $1.00 in my “Food Recovery Network Jar” to support university students across the nation recover food from their dining halls and deliver the food to local communities.

My goal is three-fold:

  1. Waste less in my own life and be active in curbing the environmental impact our food system creates

  2. Inspire you to generate less waste your own life

  3. Raise $1,000 for Food Recovery Network  

You can join me by…

  • Pledging to try waste less-- join me on the one item a week or chose your own item and try to cut back or eliminate using a type of plastic or food waste

  • Donating to FRN-- a safe food recovery costs about $2.20 per meal. Your donation helps FRN fight food waste, deliver nutritious food to valued community members, and develop committed food system leaders

  • Following along, sharing posts, and commenting with ideas, questions, and encouragement

For each person that takes the pledge and donates $15 to FRN, I will extend my challenge by one week and give up an additional source of waste. For each person that donates $100 or more, I will add an additional week to the challenge AND they choose the item that I must give up during the additional week.   


How it all started:  Waste AcE Claire Cummings’ Zero Waste Challenge

Claire Cummings, Bon Appétit Management Company's waste expert (AKA the Waste Ace) committed to go the entire month of May without sending waste to landfills. Bon Appétit is already a USDA and EPA 2030 Food Waste Champion thanks to Claire's work, recovering surplus food from their hundreds of dining locations across the country. Clair lived out her zero waste lifestyle to the fullest educating all of us on how to create less waste while also raising over $1000 to support the vital work of the Food Recovery Network and their mission to create a waste-free future.

From Claire Cummings @WasteAce

Do you think you could go an entire month without producing any waste? Try to imagine it - what kind of cup did you drink coffee from today, did you use a paper napkin when you ate lunch, what did you do with your receipt from the store? Between 330 million Americans, even the little bits can add up! Dealing with all this waste is a huge task and makes a profound impact - on our environment, on our health, and on our society. The USDA estimates that 40% of the food produced in the United States is never eaten, equating to $165 Billion worth of food per year. And that is food waste alone! Clearly, something needs to change in the way people receive, utilize, and dispose of products.


Join The challenge 





From the Waste Ace:

I’m going zero waste for Food Recovery Network and I want you to join me!

For the month of May I’m going to try not to create any landfill waste. When I do, I have to put a $1 in a jar to donate to FRN (think of it like a swear jar, but my problem isn’t a dirty mouth, it’s a dirty garbage bin).

And to make things fun, if you donate $15 or more to FRN during this challenge, I will extend the challenge another day.

And to really increase the stakes, if you donate $15 or more to FRN and you pledge to strive for zero waste too, I will donate an additional $1 for each piece of landfill trash I generate during the challenge.

Throughout the month I’ll share tips on how to reduce waste in your own life through my successes and blunders but there’s already plenty out there on this topic so rather than re-invent the wheel I want to motivate us all to get up off our duffs and make simple (yes I mean really really simple) changes to waste less.