DEQ’s Elaine Blatt wins AOR award for food waste prevention campaign

Sanne Stienstra and Elaine Blatt with DEQ’s Materials Management Program enjoying a moment after Elaine’ s receive the AOR sustainability award.

Elaine Blatt and the Bad Apple Campaign Project Team received an Oregon Sustainability Award at the 2022 Association of Oregon Recyclers Conference this October. To be nominated for this prestigious recognition, individuals or teams must demonstrate a significant or outstanding accomplishment in recycling, waste prevention, reuse, or other sustainable materials management initiatives. Elaine and her team were celebrated for their actions that went above and beyond the normal scope of duties to bring attention to and spur action around the topic of food waste prevention. The environmental impacts of food waste are immense, yet the topic has remained under the radar compared with other issues related to sustainability, from microplastics to common household recycling. Elaine and her team, working with a marketing consulting firm, dreamed up and created a campaign that is at once engaging and informative without the “scolding” that sometimes can be associated with efforts to change environmentally damaging habits.

Elaine Blatt discussing food waste prevention during the Sustainable Oregon 2022 AOR conference in Bend.

The Bad Apple campaign used humor and eye-catching graphics to catch consumers’ attention by focusing on the out-of-pocket costs of wasted food. The bad apple mascot added a light but memorable tone and shared consumer tips on storing and using food to avoid waste and spoilage. As DEQ Communications Manager, Harry Esteve, reflected in his letter of support, “[Elaine] was always open to ideas and suggestions for improvements and worked closely with my team to ensure the campaign got as broad a distribution as we could muster. I worked with Elaine and her team to develop a communications plan to publicize the campaign. Our efforts resulted in a number of interviews with news outlets, which Elaine handled with an authoritative yet plain-spoken style. I also witnessed her firm hand in helping ensure the campaign remained on track, on schedule and on budget. In short, Elaine’s work furthered the public’s knowledge about avoiding food waste, saving money and protecting Oregon’s environment.”

Congratulations to Elaine and her collaborating team members on this outstanding honor! For more information on the Bad Apple campaign, please visit

By Katie Romano, communications and outreach specialist for DEQ’s Materials Management Program

Published by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ’s mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.

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