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EPA Recognizes the Borough of State College for Curbside Food Recycling

Release Date: 04/17/2012
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (April 17, 2012) -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency marked the beginning of Earth Week by recognizing State College Borough for its curbside food recycling program.

State College is the only town in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that is conducting curbside food waste collection for composting. The program began as a pilot and is slated to go borough-wide in 2013.

During the ceremony today at State College's composting facility, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin also welcomed the borough and Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority as the newest members to join EPA's Food Recovery Challenge.

“Earth Week is an excellent time to raise awareness about the importance of recycling food waste. By diverting food waste away from landfills, the borough is saving money on disposal fees, reducing harmful air emissions and producing a valuable soil product when it is composted. EPA is pleased to recognize State College Borough and Centre County and welcome them into our Food Recovery Challenge,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.

EPA's Food Recovery Challenge encourages organizations to reduce waste, donate, and recycle as much of their unspoiled food waste as possible. This saves money, feeds the needy and helps protect the environment.

State College Borough has a well-established yard and garden waste collection and now collects food waste as part of a pilot program which will become borough-wide next year. The food and garden waste is turned into compost, which is used throughout the borough and is also available for purchase. The borough uses and sells approximately 3,000 cubic yards of compost per year.

Food waste is the largest waste category in the U.S. In 2010, 34 million tons of food waste was generated. Of that, 97 percent was sent to landfills or incinerators. When excess food, leftover food, and food scraps are disposed of in a landfill, they decompose rapidly and become a significant source of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change. Landfills and the food waste in them account for more than 20 percent of all methane emissions in the U.S.

In addition to composting, food that is not spoiled can help to feed the hungry because much of it is not waste at all but actually safe, wholesome food that could potentially feed millions of Americans. Food donations from supermarkets and restaurants are now redirecting these valuable resources to food cupboards and other hunger relief organizations.

For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge go to: www.epa.gov/foodrecoverychallenge.