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University of Houston Among Outstanding Participants in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge

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Jennah Durant (
214 665-2200

University of Houston Among Outstanding Participants in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge

DALLAS – (Nov. 21, 2017) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the outstanding accomplishments of 16 winners participating in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. The University of Houston won the national award for Data-Driven Improvement in the colleges and universities sector.

“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.”

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 impacts 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. 

The waste prevention and diversion efforts of this year’s award winners, as well as all Food Recovery Challenge participants and endorsers, contribute to the actions needed in order for the United States to meet the national goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent by the year 2030.

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 excelled in the areas of source reduction, leadership, innovation, education and outreach and endorsement. 

The 2017 Food Recovery Challenge national award winners are:

Data-driven Improvement by Sector Winners

  • Grocers:  Sprouts Farmers Markets:  247 (Carlsbad, California)
  • Colleges and Universities:  University of Houston (Houston, Texas)
  • K-12 Schools:  Ramona High School (Ramona, California)
  • Sports and Entertainment Venues:  Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas (Dallas, Texas)
  • Hotels, Resorts and Lodging:  Xanterra Parks and Resorts at Zion National Park Lodge (Springdale, Utah)
  • Restaurants and Food Service Providers:  Café de Novo (Dallas, Texas)
  • State/Tribal/Local Government:  Town of New Paltz (New Paltz, New York)
  • Non-Profits:  Food Forward (North Hollywood, California)
  • Food Manufacturing:  Signature Breads, Inc. (Chelsea, Massachusetts)
  • Newcomer:  Sprouts Farmers Market: 276 (Daly City, California)

Narrative Category Winners

  • Source Reduction:  Cherokee Point Elementary School (San Diego, California)
  • Leadership:  City of San Diego (San Diego, California)
  • Innovation:  Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Music & Arts Festival (Honesdale, Pennsylvania), and San Diego International Airport (San Diego, California)
  • Education and Outreach:  Spoiler Alert (Boston, Massachusetts)
  • Endorsers:  Corporate Waste Consultants (Greentown, Pennsylvania) 

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

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

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