U.S. EPA Honors Three Los Angeles-Area Organizations for Leading Food Recovery Efforts Nationwide
Los Angeles County Departments of Public Health and Public Works Among Winners
LOS ANGELES – Today, the Los Angeles Departments of Public Health and Public Works, along with Sprouts Farmers Market in Alhambra, were recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their outstanding efforts in combatting food waste. The organizations each received a national Food Recovery Challenge award for reducing food waste and, in the process, conserving natural resources.
“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.”
“These organizations have redirected edible food to food banks and turned scraps into feed for local livestock, compost and energy” said John Busterud, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Their efforts help reduce waste and costs while feeding people in need and protecting the environment.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) is recognized for its education and outreach efforts. In response to rising interest in sustainability and state organic waste reduction mandates in 2018, DPH worked with the Public Health Alliance of Southern California to train more than 550 Los Angeles County health inspectors, waste hauler employees, and school district staff. The training was tailored to count towards continuing education units and covered food waste metrics. DPH also published a guide for schools interested in reducing their organic waste entitled, “Share Tables and Food Donations in Schools - Best Practices for LA County.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Environmental Programs Division is recognized for its results in the state, tribal and local government sector. Los Angeles County Public Works collaborated with Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts to use existing anaerobic digestion infrastructure to convert 13,700 pounds of food waste to electricity. Worm composting bins diverted an additional 1,200 pounds of food waste, and another 340 pounds were source reduced by improved planning by kitchen staff.
Sprouts Farmers Market in Alhambra is recognized for its leadership in food recovery efforts among grocers. In 2018, the Sprouts Farmers Market store in Alhambra donated 59 tons of surplus food to support local families in need. That food would have otherwise gone to a landfill. The store also composted 57 tons of food scraps, helping to recycle nutrients and avoid landfill emissions. The store’s combined 2018 food donation and food scraps composting efforts were 222% greater than the previous year.
Read more about these food recovery efforts at: https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/about-2019-food-recovery-challenge-national-award-winners
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 organizations 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.
For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/foodrecoverychallenge/