News Releases from Region 01
EPA Recognizes Massachusetts Organizations for Reducing Food Waste
BOSTON – The Town of Andover, Mass. Public Schools is being honored nationally by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their work keeping wasted food out of landfills and incinerators and putting it to better use. Two additional Mass. organization are being recognized by EPA's New England regional office for their food reduction efforts.
The awards are part of EPA's Food Recovery Challenge (FRC). The Food Recovery Challenge takes part in the efforts of the "Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative," a partnership including EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration, to reduce food loss and waste through combined federal action.
"Preventing food waste and providing excess food to people in need has significant economic and social benefits," said Alexandra Dunn, EPA New England Regional Administrator. "We hope that these New England leaders' accomplishments will be examples for other organizations and communities who want to develop their own food recovery contributions."
Andover, Mass. Public Schools' program, "Green Schools Andover" won the National Education and Outreach narrative award. In 2017, 10 Andover public schools diverted 226 tons of food from the local incinerator, with 217 tons of food waste diverted to compost and 9 tons of food recovered using a "share table," a place where students can place unopened food and drinks that they choose not to consume, which are then donated to local non-profit organizations. Through the education and outreach work of Green Schools Andover, several other town school programs achieved results in 2017, and several school programs across the country are poised for results in future years.
EPA New England also recognized three organizations regionally for their food reduction efforts including: Boston College, in Chestnut Hill, Mass.; Food for Free, in Cambridge, Mass., and The Skinny Pancake, in Burlington, Vermont. EPA is also issuing achievement certificates to 21 EPA Food Recovery Challenge participants in four New England states for achieving a five percent or more increase in food waste diversion or recovery in their operations from 2016 to 2017.
Boston College (BC) Dining Services initiated a front-of-house food waste composting program in McElroy Commons dining hall which increased diversion of food waste by about 20 percent over one year, from approximately 300 to 380 tons, complementing the ongoing back-of-house food waste prevention and composting program.
Food for Free initiated a food recovery program with local institutional partners in Metrowest to rescue a total of 75,000 pounds of prepared food as part of Family Meals Program that created over 25,000 meals and distributed 50,000 pounds of remaining food to eastern Massachusetts residents in need.
In 2017, EPA New England worked with 57 New England-based Food Recovery Challenge participants to reduce wasted food, by diverting more than 59,000 tons of food for donation or composting.
Nationally, over 1,000 businesses, governments and not-for-profit organizations participate in EPA's Food Recovery Challenge. In 2017, FRC 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. The strategies used by FRC organizations to reduce wasting food, plus those implemented by individuals, communities and public-private partnerships, will bring the United States closer to meeting the National goal to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030 or to 109 pounds of waste food per person per year.
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. Wasted food 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.
Nationally, EPA recognizes Food Recovery Challenge participants and endorsers with awards in two categories: data-driven and narrative. The data-driven award recipients achieved the highest percent increases in their sector comparing year to year data. Narrative award winners made notable achievements in the areas of source reduction, leadership, innovation, education and outreach, and endorsement.
Food Recovery Challenge national and regional award winners: https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-challenge-results-and-award-winners
National food loss and waste reduction goal: https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/call-action-stakeholders-united-states-food-loss-waste-2030-reduction
U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions: https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/united-states-food-loss-and-waste-2030-champions