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Administrator Wheeler Tours Hoover Dam, Participates in Food Waste Reduction Event at MGM

01/22/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

LAS VEGAS (Jan. 22, 2020) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler continued his swing through the Nevada area today, taking a tour of the Hoover Dam and attending a water reuse and food waste reduction event at MGM’s ARIA Resort. This follows yesterday’s announcement on the 2030 Food Loss and Waste Champions. His trip will conclude tomorrow at the National Home Builders International Builders’ Show where he will be giving remarks.

Administrator Wheeler kicked off the day at the Hoover Dam with a tour provided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The tour discussed the dam’s beginnings during the Great Depression, the construction phase, which took less than five years, and current uses including the delivery of water resources to millions of Americans in Nevada, Arizona, and California.

At MGM’s ARIA Resort, Administrator Wheeler visited at The Park and learned about MGM’s work to improve water efficiency and implement water reuse activities throughout their property. He then met with various kitchen staff members in Aria’s dining room and witnessed food loss and waste prevention measures in place.

After viewing the food’s journey from kitchen to the dining room, Administrator Wheeler observed an active food diverting exercise at Aria’s recycling dock. MGM partners with Three Square Food Bank through MGM’s food donation program, which donates unserved prepared foods safely rescued from events to the food bank for future use. EPA staff then toured Three Square Food Bank’s facilities after receiving an overview of how the food bank reuses and repurposes food donations from MGM.

“It was an honor to visit MGM’s facilities and see the continuing work being done to reduce food waste and conserve energy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Food waste is an environmental issue that the Trump Administration will continue to work with our public and private partners to address and reduce.” 

“We are honored to host EPA Administrator Wheeler today at The Park and ARIA to learn about our leading sustainable best practices,” said Jyoti Chopra, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity and Sustainability Officer for MGM Resorts International. “Our water conservation and food waste management initiatives are among our top priorities and exemplify MGM’s innovative focus on mitigating loss and protecting our planet.”

MGM was recently recognized as the winner of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge Award for Hotels, Resorts and Lodging in 2018. They also are a 2030 Food Loss and Waste Champion through the joint U.S. Department of Agriculture-EPA program.

BACKGROUND

EPA has taken significant measures to highlight the need to reduce food waste nationally. In October 2018, EPA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and USDA signed a formal agreement to align efforts across the federal government to educate consumers, engage stakeholders, and develop and evaluate solutions to food loss and waste.

The agencies launched “Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month” in April 2019 with a Presidential Message from President Trump encouraging public action and participation from all sectors. During the month of April 2019, Administrator Wheeler and leadership from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened a summit at EPA bringing state and local stakeholders together to form partnerships with leading food waste reduction non-governmental organizations. At this event, over 30 governmental organizations signed onto a new pledge in which state, local, tribal and territorial government organizations solidified interest in working with the federal government to continue to build upon existing efforts back home to reduce food loss and waste.

At the summit, EPA also announced $110,000 in funding for food waste management and infrastructure projects (to expand anaerobic digestion capacity) in Wisconsin, Vermont, and Washington. In addition, EPA opened a Small Business Innovation Research Grants program solicitation in 2019, which included “preventing food waste” as a topic.

About Food Waste in the U.S.:

  • EPA estimates that more food (over 75 billion pounds) reaches landfills and combustion facilities than any other material in everyday trash, constituting 22% of discarded municipal solid waste.
  • Landfills are the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States.
  • Food waste not only impacts landfill space and emissions, it hurts the economy. USDA estimates the value of food loss and waste for retailers and consumers each year to be over $161 billion.
  • Food waste consumes 21% of all fresh water globally.
  • Wasted food also results in unnecessary, excess expenditures of U.S. domestic energy resources.

For more information on the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative, visit: https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food
https://www.usda.gov/foodlossandwaste
www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm628706.htm

To watch Administrator Wheeler’s remarks tomorrow, visit: https://www.nahb.org/Streaming/IBS-2020-Livestream