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EPA Announces Food Recovery Challenge regional winners in Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Paul and Mt. Pleasant

Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (
312-886-7613 312-898-2042 Cell

For Immediate Release    No. 17-OPA089

CHICAGO (November 22, 2017) -- A museum, a music festival and a grocery chain are among the six regional winners of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge Awards. EPA's Challenge encourages organizations to reduce waste, donate food, and recycle food scraps to save money, feed the needy and protect the environment.

“Food Recovery Challenge award winners serve as role models in their communities and for other organizations,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Their hard work and effective efforts to divert wasted food from landfills is paying off through social, financial and environmental benefits. I encourage other organizations to replicate the successful food recovery operations of our Challenge winners.”

This year’s regional winners are:

The Field Museum (Chicago) for active engagement in its first year of participation in the Challenge. The Field Museum has multiple systems in place to divert food scraps and other biodegradable/plant-based materials from landfills including compost bins at its two restaurants, which serve over 1 million meals a year.

Green Music Fest (Chicago) for recent efforts resulting in its 89 percent waste diversion rate in 2016 (a 26 percent increase from 2015) and preventing 6.2 tons of CO2 emissions.

The Kroger Co. (Cincinnati) for its longstanding participation in the Food Recovery Challenge, and for its donations of nearly 70 million pounds of food to local food banks, providing the equivalent of about 57 million meals in 2016.

HopCat Broad Ripple (Indianapolis) for diverting a total of 270 tons of organic material and 3,800 cubic yards of food waste from landfills and incinerators. HopCat’s 17 establishments also recycled an estimated 13,800 cubic yards of cardboard, paper, plastic, metal and glass. 

St. Paul RiverCentre/Xcel Energy Center (Minn.) for its work with a local composting facility to turn organic material into garden mulch and diverting more than 370 tons of food and organic waste from landfills in 2016.

Central Michigan University (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.) for its significant increase in diversion over the previous year’s results and for its active engagement in the Challenge. Central Michigan University partners with Aramark, an EPA 2030 Champion, to collect and transport over 350 tons of food waste to Morgan’s Composting.

In 2016, over 950 businesses, governments and organizations participated in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. Food Recovery Challenge participants include organizations such as grocers, restaurants, educational institutions and sports and entertainment venues, who together diverted 740,000 tons of food from being landfilled or incinerated, saving businesses up to $37 million in avoided waste disposal fees. To prevent and reduce their wasted food, Food Recovery Challenge participants used cost-effective and creative practices that included reducing excess food from educational institutions, sending food scraps off for animal feed and providing in-house food recovery training. 

Wasted food is the single largest type of waste discarded each year in our everyday trash; that’s roughly 73 billion pounds. Wasting food adversely affects our communities and the environment through the fiscal and natural resources used to produce and deliver the food. Approximately 12 percent of American households have difficulty providing enough food for all of their family members. In 2016, Food Recovery Challenge participants helped address food insecurity in our nation through the donation of nearly 222,000 tons of excess, wholesome food, providing the equivalent of close to 370 million meals. 

For more information on Food Recovery Challenge award winners, visit:   

For more information on the 2030 national food loss reduction goal, visit: