Climate Fund Aims for Landmark Zero-Food Waste Goal by 2030

Ben McAdams and Troy McKinley Hired as Strategic Planning Consultants

In a game-changing announcement in April 2023, Park City Community Foundation’s Climate Fund revealed a resolute goal to fully divert food waste from Summit County’s landfill by 2030. This strategic decision, shaped through thorough discussions with staff, board, and community collaborators, targets one of the most pressing climate-related issues in Park City and Summit County, Utah.

The Climate Fund has now embarked on its crucial strategic planning phase to realize its ambitious seven-year goal. The Climate Fund Steering Committee has hired strategic planning consultants, Ben McAdams – the former Utah Congressman, State Senator, and Salt Lake County Mayor – and Troy McKinley, to help with the process.

With a daunting prediction that Summit County’s landfill will be filled within the next two decades without intervention, urgent action is essential to reduce greenhouse gases and avoid staggering costs in the near future.

Solid waste landfills account for one-third of human-related methane emissions in the United States, a greenhouse gas that traps heat at a rate 84 times that of carbon dioxide. Presently, a whopping eighty percent of the solid waste that reaches the local landfill could be avoided, with forty to sixty percent of that being food waste (depending on the season).

Through food waste diversion, the Climate Fund and its community partners will have a targeted impact, reducing local methane emissions and saving the community millions down the line in local waste removal. Not to mention, it’s a goal aligned with Park City’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

As Strategic Planning Consultants, Ben McAdams and Troy McKinley are a formidable duo poised to steer the Climate Fund’s strategic direction, with a comprehensive plan set to be unveiled in November 2023.

Accompanied by an extensive history of implementing progressive public policy at a local level, Ben McAdams is the founder of the Common Ground Institute, an organization focused on public policy development and community problem-solving, where he continues to use his skill in policy and public work to support climate-related initiatives, an issue he says is the ‘greatest challenge of our time.’ His partner, Troy McKinley, has a deep history as an international climate entrepreneur through his support of start-ups and new technologies in the industrial and energy space.

“The effects of climate change don’t fall along party lines or skip over countries on the map,” said McAdams. “We need collaborative approaches to swiftly and comprehensively take on the threats we face from a hotter climate. To address this challenge, we need to think and act together, with business, community leaders, faith leaders, educators, labor, health care professionals, nonprofits, and all levels of government on board.”

Andy Hecht, Park City Community Foundation’s Climate Fund Manager, conveys the organization’s anticipation and commitment to working with McAdams and McKinley, and comments, “McAdams and McKinley will be invaluable assets to help us address the climate crisis at a local level and will advance the need for a collective response in this monumental endeavor.”

With the release of the strategic plan in November, the Climate Fund will enter its action phase, collaborating with key partners across Summit County and Park City, encompassing famed tourist hubs like Main Street and commercial hubs like Kimball Junction. The strategy will also look at quantifying and presenting food waste diversion data, making its environmental impact tangible to the community.

When executed effectively, the Climate Fund’s approach to embedding zero-food waste systems into the community will serve as a trailblazing model for other areas sharing a similar economic fabric.

Eyee Hsu, a member of both the Climate Fund’s Steering Committee and Park City Community Foundation’s Board of Directors, envisions Summit County’s climate solutions being adopted by other mountain towns, thereby amplifying the positive impact on reducing CO2 emissions. She says, “We have a unique opportunity as a mountain community to be leaders in this space, and I believe we truly can make a measurable difference.”


Fritz Edelstein

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