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Trash to Treasure: A “Dual Impact” Approach to Food Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention

  • 20 Mar 2024
  • 11:00 AM
  • Virtual, Eastern Time Zone

Approximately 25% (66 million tons) of the U.S. municipal waste stream is food. According to the EPA, this food waste and the annual energy used in producing, processing, preparing, distributing, and disposing of it contributes greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalent to 60 coal-fired power plants per year. This webinar will highlight an emerging national strategy around food waste reduction and reuse with a focus on food processing and manufacturing. It will also cover important regulatory, energy, and economic factors for manufacturers to consider in evaluating opportunities for upcycling byproduct or donating unused food to local food banks to help address the needs of underserved communities. A case study will be presented to illustrate these considerations. The webinar will conclude with a presentation of tools and resources that are available to help inform decision making, including technical assistance opportunities.


Dr. Gregory Ziegler, Distinguished Professor of Food Science · Penn State Agricultural Sciences

Dr. Gregory R. Ziegler is a Distinguished Professor of Food Science at Penn State University, where he also serves as the Director of Graduate Studies. With a Ph.D. in Food Engineering from Cornell University, Dr. Ziegler has established himself as an expert in food process engineering and food materials science. His research interests revolve around foods as composite materials, focusing on the physical properties and processing of polymeric and particulate foods. Dr. Ziegler's extensive expertise in the science and engineering of chocolate manufacturing prompted his exploration of natural food colorants, leading to opportunities for upcycling avocado seeds into valuable commercial products. Supported by the William and Lois Dietrich Endowment in Food Bioprocessing and serving as a faculty affiliate of the Materials Research Institute, Dr. Ziegler also oversees the Food Characterization Laboratory and teaches several courses, including an Introductory Food Science Practicum and course in Managing Food Quality. His dedication to the field is reflected in his numerous publications, $7.5 million in research support, and numerous accolades.

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