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In advance of World Food Day, October 16, we’re turning our attention to our environmental footprint. The 2016 World Food Day theme, climate change, encourages us to consider ways to be resourceful through recycling efforts, taking a huge step toward a more sustainable planet.

There are many forms of pollution that are preventable. We’re focusing on land pollution, which is primarily made up of household garbage and industrial waste. In order to reduce our environmental footprint, Stop Hunger Now looks for ways to reduce and reuse plastic materials, including our meal packages and rice bags.

Recently at North Carolina State University, a group of textile engineering and textile technology students were tasked with repurposing our rice bags. Over the course of multiple semesters, the students recycled the rice bags–which are used in meal packaging all over the world–to create re-usable products. Innovative techniques like these are crucial in creating a planet that will be able to provide for the generations to come.

NC State Textile students rice bags
First place winners Brooke E Anderson, Paolo Giuseppe Fenu and Leah Michelle Mahr used the rice bags to create expandable shoes that can be lengthened and customized to a person’s foot size. Photo courtesy NC State.

Earlier this month, two members of Girl Scout Troop 28427 in Atlanta, Georgia, created a step-by-step instructional video to show how to convert Stop Hunger Now rice bags to tote bags. The girls also sold the tote bags as part of a fundraiser at Dunwoody United Methodist Church (DUMC) to support Habitat for Humanity. DUMC packages 350,000 meals annually with Stop Hunger Now, and has previously recycled our bags through an in-house recycling ministry.

Our international partners have also found various ways to reuse our bags, including as meal bowls, seedling containers and tote bags for transporting food and other amenities.

Meal bags serve as seedling containers in the garden to help prep young plants before they’re ready for potting.
ADRA Mozambique meal bag reuse
Stop Hunger Now partner ADRA Mozambique distributes meal bags to community members for re-use.

Stop Hunger Now is researching ways to further reduce its environmental footprint, and seeks to achieve bulk meal packaging efforts, rather than individual bagging of food, to fill large reusable buckets or bins for large feeding programs. Ultimately, we hope to utilize fully biodegradable packaging materials.

Salesian Missions Zambia meal bag reuse
Stop Hunger Now partner Salesian Missions in Zambia utilizes our meal bags as food bowls.

To find out more about how you can be part of an exciting global movement against hunger, please visit our World Food Day page.

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