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EPA Recognizes Wylie ISD for Achievement in Reducing Food Waste

School district earned Honorable Mention in annual Food Recover Challenge

05/27/2020
Contact Information: 
Jennah Durant (R6Press@epa.gov)
214 665-2200

DALLAS – (May 27, 2020) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized two schools in the Wylie, Texas, Independent School District (ISD) for outstanding accomplishments in the 2019 Food Recovery Challenge. Birmingham Elementary and Harrison Intermediate School both used creative and practical strategies to prevent and reduce food waste at their campuses.

“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.”

“I am so proud of Birmingham Elementary School and Harrison Intermediate School for being recognized in the national EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. They are the Wylie Way!,” said Wylie ISD Superintendent Dr. David Vinson. “Both schools embraced the core ethical values of the Wylie Way: responsibility and respect and had successfully demonstrated student-led efforts to achieve the goal of reducing food waste.”                                              

Wylie ISD developed the Share, Shake and Stack program to help students reduce food waste in the lunch room. Students were encouraged to only take items they would consume during lunch, and put any unopened, unused food on a “share” table for other students to take. The district’s nutrition department also upgraded its meal planning and tracking capabilities to more precisely align the amount of food they order and prepare with the amount that students eat, thereby reducing waste. Using these strategies, Birmingham Elementary saw the greatest reduction in food waste—nearly 8,000 pounds diverted from landfills in one year. Students at Harrison Intermediate School added composting to their plan, using food scraps to feed worms and create compost for the school’s vegetable garden. With these techniques, the school reduced food waste by 6,377 pounds in one year.

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 also serve as an example 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.

This year’s winners 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.

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.

Two award winners this year, MGM Resorts International and Sprouts Farmers Market, are also U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, a group of businesses and organizations who have publicly committed to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent in their own operations 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

Connect with EPA Region 6:

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eparegion6 

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/EPAregion6

About EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central  

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