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EPA Honors Calif., Nev., Ariz. Universities for Pledge to Significantly Reduce Food Waste

Release Date: 11/15/2012
Contact Information: David Yogi, yogi.david@epa.gov, (415) 972-3350

Eighteen Schools Pledge Multi-ton Waste Reduction

SAN FRANCISCO – In celebration today of America Recycles Day 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces the participation of 18 California, Nevada, and Arizona universities in EPA’s national Food Recovery Challenge. An event is being hosted by the University of California, Berkeley, one of the first participants to join the Food Recovery Challenge.

The Food Recovery Challenge is a voluntary program that aims to limit the 34 million tons of food wasted nationwide annually by reducing unnecessary consumption and increasing donations to charity and composting. By participating, these schools, with a combined 460,000 student enrollment, pledge to reduce food waste by five percent in one year.

“Food waste is a particular problem for California, the world’s fifth largest food supplier, because of the enormous quantities of water and energy required for production,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA is proud to partner with these universities as they commit to support the environment and their community by reducing food waste.”

As participants, the 18 schools—University of California Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, San Francisco, Santa Barbara; and Santa Cruz; California State University Fullerton, Humboldt and Northridge; University of Southern California; City College San Francisco; Arizona State University; Northern Arizona University; University of Arizona; and University of Nevada Las Vegas and Reno—join 42 other colleges and universities nationwide in pledging to reduce wasted food. In addition to higher education institutions, other participants include grocers and entertainment venues, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers stadium.

Nationally, food is the single largest material sent to landfills, accounting for 25 percent of all waste sent to landfills. When excess food, leftover food, and food scraps are disposed of in a landfill, they decompose and become a significant source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In turn, limiting wasted food will reduce methane emissions.

The Food Recovery Challenge is part of EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of food and other widely-used everyday items through their entire life cycle, including how they are extracted, manufactured, distributed, used, reused, recycled, and disposed.

For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge, visit: http://www.epa.gov/foodrecoverychallenge/

For additional information on EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/smm/index.htm

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