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News Releases from Region 05

EPA honors Western Michigan’s Electric Forest Festival with Food Recovery Challenge award

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

For Immediate Release No. 18-OPA76

(Chicago, Dec. 13, 2018)  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today honored Electric Forest Festival, an 8-day music event held annually in Rothbury, Mich., with the 2018 Regional Food Recovery Challenge award.

Electric Forest is one of the businesses and organizations nationwide participating in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, under the Trump Administration’s “Winning on Reducing Food Waste” initiative. This year’s awardees utilized innovative approaches and engaged in a variety of cost-effective and practical actions to prevent and reduce food waste. 

“EPA congratulates Electric Forest for taking steps to cut food waste and recycle,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp. “Participants in Region 5’s Food Recovery Challenge kept more than 200,000 tons of food scrap out of landfills in 2017.”

In 2017, Electric Forest diverted 38 tons of organic material from entering landfills and incinerators by donating 14,600 meals (7.35 tons of food), transforming cooking oil into biodiesel for vehicle and farm equipment, and using certified compostable serviceware.

“Though it isn’t easy to build infrastructure and manage large-scale food recovery in a ‘pop-up city’ emerging from the forests of western Michigan once a year, it is doable, and totally WORTH IT,” said Stephanie Katsaros, sustainability director for Electric Forest.


EPA is part of the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, a collaboration among EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration to reduce food loss and waste through combined federal action. More than 1,000 businesses, governments, and organizations participate in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. In 2017, challenge participants prevented or diverted almost 648,000 tons of food from entering landfills or incinerators, saving participants up to $31.2 million in avoided landfill tipping fees. 

Food waste is the single largest type of waste thrown away each year in our daily trash. In 2015, more than 39 million tons of food waste was generated. Food waste adversely impacts the economy, our communities, and the environment by wasting the resources used to grow and transport food. At the same time, approximately 12 percent of America’s households have difficulty providing enough food for all of their family members. Hungry people in need would benefit from the redirection of nutritious, wholesome food that would have otherwise been thrown away.

The strategies used by Food Recovery Challenge organizations, plus those implemented by individuals, communities, and public-private partnerships help to lessen these impacts and bring the United States closer to meeting the national goal to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030. 

For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge national and regional award winners, visit:

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

For more information on the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, visit: