EPA Region 7 Recognizes Mid-America Regional Council for Promoting Sustainable Food Management Principles
Food Recovery Challenge honors MARC’s Solid Waste Management District in KC
LENEXA, KAN. (JAN. 27, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 recognizes the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Solid Waste Management Districtin Kansas City, Missouri, for its for notable achievements and innovations in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge in 2021 through its promotion of EPA’s Sustainable Management of Food principles to other organizations.
“The EPA Food Recovery Challenge Award winners demonstrate how preventing food waste and diverting excess wholesome food away from landfills and to people is important for the environment and for communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Their accomplishments serve as excellent examples to other companies, governments, organizations and communities, particularly because food is the single largest category of waste. We have an obligation to follow the lead of our award winners, not only for the sake of 35 million food-insecure Americans, but also to prevent emissions that contribute to climate change.”
Through the Food Recovery Challenge (FRC), EPA has worked with organizations and businesses for the past decade to set data-driven goals, implement targeted strategies to reduce wasted food in their operations, and report results to compete for recognition.
“Community-based organizations and businesses are the lifeblood of our food recovery program,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meghan A. McCollister. “As we celebrate MARC Solid Waste Management District’s successes with this award, we invite other businesses and organizations to step up and join us in this valuable community endeavor.”
The MARC Solid Waste Management District addresses food waste as part of its general outreach through a food waste prevention webpageand presentations to local organizations. In 2020, the district revised their communication efforts during the pandemic with a social media campaign that reached over 16,000 individuals in the Kansas City metropolitan area, primarily through Facebook.
“Everyone in our region has a role to play in reducing food waste,” said MARC Solid Waste Program Manager Lisa McDaniel. “Our focus is helping families get started by providing simple, actionable tips to reduce food loss and food waste in their households.”
The district also supported Kanbe’s Market, a nonprofit organization working to eliminate food deserts in Kansas City, by helping them expand their local food waste alliance. The alliance receives food from various sources, sells products in Healthy Corner Stores, and donates additional food to partners that help feed people, such as churches and kitchens. Food that isn’t suitable for feeding people goes to partners who feed animals or compost the food. During 2020, the alliance diverted over 35 tons of food from landfill disposal.
During 2019 and 2020, FRC national awardees implemented innovative approaches and engaged in practical, cost-effective actions and best practices to prevent and reduce wasted food. Many FRC national awardees provided much-needed food during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly 600 businesses, governments and organizations actively participated in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge in 2020-2021. Since the launch of the program in 2011, FRC partners prevented or diverted over 5.5 million tons of wasted food from entering landfills or incinerators. In the most recent reporting cycle, FRC partners prevented or diverted about 1.2 million tons of food from entering landfills or incinerators, saving partners up to $61.5 million in avoided landfill tipping fees.
Each year in the United States, 73 to 152 million metric tons of food is lost or wasted during all stages of the food supply chain (from primary production to consumption), according to the EPA’s November 2021 report, From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste. Food waste adversely impacts the economy, communities, and the environment by wasting the resources used to grow and transport it. Preventing food waste and keeping food and other organics out of landfills mitigates climate change, as an estimated 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from wasted food. At the same time, uneaten food contains enough calories to feed over 150 million people each year, far more than the 35 million estimated food-insecure Americans.
Best practices used by FRC awardees to reduce wasted food in their operations, in addition to actions taken by individuals and communities, keep wasted food from landfills. Their actions also bring the United States closer to meeting the re-aligned national goal with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3 to cut food loss and waste in half by 2030.
Learn more about the Food Recovery Challenge national and regional awardees.
Learn more about the national food loss and waste reduction goal.
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