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Philadelphia Prison System Receives Accolades from EPA for Food Recovery Achievements

Contact Information: 
EPA Region 3 Press Office (

PHILADELPHIA (December 11, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the City of Philadelphia Department of Prisons for its food recovery achievements that include composting 44,344 tons of wasted food in 2017, which saves the city approximately $28,000 in landfill fees.  

“EPA is proud of the way the Philadelphia Prison System has developed an innovative program to reduce food waste,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Through EPA's Food Recovery Challenge, EPA partners with municipalities, businesses, nonprofits and other entities to reduce the amount of food in landfills and help them save money on waste disposal.”

The city received special recognition for its achievements nationally under the data driven category.  Along with the composting, the Prison System’s food recovery program provides inmates with hands-on job training in horticulture and urban gardening onsite at the Orchard Program located on property behind Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center on State Street.

Since 2016, the Philadelphia Department of Prisons has maintained a comprehensive vocational training program for participating inmates. Under the program, the Department of Prisons has partnered with Temple University in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to provide classroom instruction for participating inmates in composting and urban land care.

The city was among more than 1,000 governments, businesses and organizations nationwide that participated in the 2017 EPA Food Recovery Challenge. Nationwide, Food Recovery Challenge participants diverted nearly 648,000 tons of wasted food from entering landfills or incinerators in 2017, nearly 214,000 tons of which were donated to people and animal feed.

For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge, visit: