Vermont Business MAgazinea Two Massachusetts organizations were honored nationally by the US Environmental Protection Agency for their work keeping wasted food out of landfills and incinerators and putting it to better use. Another 24 organizations across New England received certificates recognizing their work reducing food waste as part of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. Three Vermont groups were honored.
Signature Bread in Chelsea, Mass. won the national “Data Driven Award” for achieving the highest percent increases in food waste diversion for the food manufacturing sector in a comparison of yearly data. Spoiler Alert in Boston, Mass. won the “Narrative Award” in the education and outreach category.
“Food Recovery Challenge award winners serve as role models in their communities and for other organizations,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Their hard work and effective efforts to divert wasted food from landfills is paying off through social, financial and environmental benefits. I encourage other organizations to replicate the successful food recovery operations of our Challenge winners.”
In 2016 in New England, EPA worked with 69 New England-based Food Recovery Challenge participants to reduce wasted food, by diverting more than 56,000 tons of food for donation or composting. Nationally more than 950 businesses, governments and organizations participated in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. These businesses and organizations – grocers, restaurants, educational institutions and sports and entertainment venues – together diverted 740,000 tons of food from being sent to landfills or incinerated. This saved businesses up to $37 million in avoided waste disposal fees.
The waste prevention and diversion efforts of this year’s award winners, as well as all Food Recovery Challenge participants and endorsers, contribute to the actions needed in order for the United States to meet the national goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent by the year 2030. To prevent and reduce their wasted food, Food Recovery Challenge participants used cost-effective and creative practices that included reducing excess food from institutional cafeterias, sending food scraps off for animal feed and providing in-house food recovery training.
Wasted food is the single largest type of waste discarded each year in daily trash, equaling roughly 73 billion pounds of food discarded as trash each year. Wasting food costs families and communities money, and wastes the natural resources needed to produce and deliver food. About 12 percent of American households have difficulty providing enough food for all of their family members. In 2016, Food Recovery Challenge participants nationally helped address food insecurity by donating nearly 222,000 tons of excess, wholesome food, providing the equivalent of close to 370 million meals.
The Food Recovery Challenge is part of EPA's Sustainable Materials Management Program, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of all kinds of materials. EPA recognizes 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 excelled in the areas of source reduction, leadership, innovation, education and outreach and endorsement. The following 24 New England organizations received a "Regional Food Recovery Achievement Certificate" for their work reducing food waste:
Mohegan Tribe of Indians of CT
Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven
Whole Foods Market, Milford
Berkshire Medical Center, Pittsfield
Big Y World Class Markets, headquarters in Springfield
Boston College, Chestnut Hill
Café de Boston, Boston
Clark University, Worcester
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
Katharine Lee Bates Elementary School, Wellesley
Northeastern University, Boston
Raytheon Company & Eurest, Tewksbury
Salem State University, Salem
University of Massachusetts, Lowell
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Hannaford Supermarkets, headquarters in Scarborough
University of Southern Maine, Portland
Colby College, Waterville
Parkland Medical Center, Derry
Johnson & Wales University, Providence
Harvest Market, Stowe
Stratton Mountain Resort, Stratton
Vermont Lake Monsters, Burlington
EPA's Food Recovery Challenge (www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food)
The United States' goal to reduce wasted food by 50% by 2030 (www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/united-states-2030-food-loss-and-waste-reduction-goal)