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EPA Recognizes Food Recovery Challenge Winners in Great Lakes Region

Honorees in Michigan and Illinois Make Significant Progress Reducing Food Waste

04/23/2020
Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (arcaute.francisco@epa.gov)
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-039

EPA Recognizes Food Recovery Challenge Winners in Great Lakes Region

Honorees in Michigan and Illinois Make Significant Progress Reducing Food Waste

CHICAGO (April 23, 2020) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the exceptional accomplishments of three businesses in the Great Lakes region that participated in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. Savor…Chicago at McCormick Place and Firekeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan, were named national winners.  EPA’s Region 5 recognition award went to Stella’s Lounge - Barfly Ventures of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Nationally, 15 businesses and organizations are being recognized by the Agency for applying innovative approaches and engaging in a variety of practical cost-effective actions and best practices to prevent and reduce food waste.

“Food Recovery Challenge participants are leaders in showing how preventing food waste and diverting excess wholesome food to people is an environmental win and a cost-saving business decision.” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Their accomplishments serve as excellent examples to other companies, governments, organizations and communities.”

“EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge demonstrates the Agency’s efforts to reduce food waste and ensure excess food doesn’t go to waste,” said Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “EPA supports building a stronger, more resilient recycling system and reducing food waste to help fuel our economy, create jobs, conserve resources and prevent waste.”

Food is a valuable resource. Efforts to reduce food waste and ensure excess food doesn’t go to waste are needed now more than ever. The innovation these businesses are showcasing can serve as examples as the nation works together to address the COVID-19 public health emergency. Over 1,000 businesses, governments and organizations participated in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge in 2019. Participants prevented or diverted over 815,000 tons of food from entering landfills or incinerators, saving participants up to $42.3 million in avoided landfill tipping fees.

In Region 5, over 25 businesses, governments and organizations participated in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge in 2019. Participants prevented or diverted over 400,000 tons of food from entering landfills or incinerators, saving over $20 million in avoided landfill tipping fees.

This year’s winners in the Great Lakes region used innovative best practices to prevent and reduce food waste, such as:

  • Expanding composting infrastructure to more than double yearly food waste composted,
  • Creatively working with food banks and organizations to donate food that would otherwise be wasted,
  • Repurposing wholesome food into new dishes instead of letting it go to waste, and
  • Initiating programs that encourage composting and reducing food waste in the workplace.

EPA is recognizing 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. Award winners in Region 5 include:

Data-Driven Award Winners by Sector

Sports and Entertainment Venues:  Savor…Chicago at McCormick Place - South Building

Narrative Award Winners

Leadership: Firekeepers Casino Hotel - Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi 

Regional Award Winner

Stella’s - Barfly Ventures

Background:

Food waste is the single largest type of waste thrown away each year in our daily trash. In 2017, more than 40 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 11 percent of America’s households had difficulty providing enough food for all of their family members in 2018. 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:

https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-challenge-results-and-award-winners

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

https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/call-action-stakeholders-united-states-food-loss-waste-2030-reduction

For more information on the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, visit: https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/united-states-food-loss-and-waste-2030-champions

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