Boston – Ten New England educational, healthcare and other business institutions have become members of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, a national initiative that encourages businesses, organizations and institutions to actively participate in food waste prevention, surplus food donation and food waste recycling activities.
The 10 new participants in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge from New England include:
Boston Medical Center, (Boston, Mass.)
Colby College, (Waterville, Maine)
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, (Boston, Mass.)
Fairview Hospital, (Great Barrington, Mass.)
Framingham State University, (Framingham, Mass.)
Massachusetts Maritime Academy, (Buzzards Bay, Mass.)
Parkland Medical Center, (Derry, N.H.)
Stratton Mountain Resort, (Stratton Mountain, Vt.)
University of Massachusetts at Lowell, (Lowell, Mass.)
Signature Breads (Chelsea, Mass.)
“By working with EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, these New England Institutions are finding ways to reduce food waste going to landfills, and they are making a real difference for their communities and for our environment,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Sending food waste to a landfill represents a missed opportunity to reduce costs, protect the environment and help our neighbors.”
The ten new members means New England now has 80 institutions working through this program to reduce food waste. EPA currently has over 800 participants nationwide in the Food Recovery Challenge. The effort focuses on College and Universities, Supermarkets, Healthcare Facilities, Hospitality and venues that traditionally manage large quantities of food and food waste. Two local partners, Framingham State University and UMass Lowell, are working with the Food Recovery Network to direct edible food for donation in local their communities-Feed the People.
The Challenge aligns with recent legislation in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont that will require large organizations to divert their food waste from landfills and incinerators. These three New England states are national leaders in recognizing the resource value to wasted food.
Nationally, according to EPA’s recently released Municipal Characterization Report, Americans are throwing away food and money. More than 36 million tons of food waste was generated in 2011, 96 percent of which was thrown away into landfills or incinerators. Some estimates translate this into a loss of approximately $165 billion annually. At the same time 14.9 percent of households in the U.S. were food insecure in 2011, meaning they did not know where their next meal would come from.
Wasted food has economic, environmental and social impacts. Much of the food discarded, especially by institutions, is actually safe, wholesome food that could potentially feed millions of Americans. Excess food, leftovers and scraps that are not fit for consumption and donation can be recycled into a nutrient-rich soil supplement.