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EPA Welcomes Ten Philadelphia Area ShopRite Stores and Philabundance into the Food Recovery Challenge

Release Date: 04/18/2012
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113 or heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (April 18, 2012) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially welcomed new members from the Philadelphia area into its Food Recovery Challenge. EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge encourages organizations to reduce, donate, and recycle as much of their excess food as possible, which saves money, feeds the needy, and helps protect the environment.

The new members include: Ten Philadelphia area ShopRite stores, owned and operated by the Brown Family; Philabundance, the Delaware Valley's largest food bank; and Organic Diversion, of Marlton, N.J., an organic recycler. The official signing ceremony took place at the ShopRite of Parkside in West Philadelphia.

"With Earth Day approaching, this is an excellent time to raise awareness of two issues which go hand-in-hand: food waste and hunger. Composting food waste not only creates a valuable soil product but diverts food waste from the landfill where it can produce harmful gases that contribute to climate change. But much of the food that is thrown away is actually safe and wholesome, and could potentially feed millions of Americans. EPA is working with the grocery industry and hunger-relief organizations to increase food donations. The Brown Family, Philabundance and Organic Diversion are all helping to solve our food waste problems and we're pleased to welcome them as Food Challenge members," said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.

Food is the largest waste category in the U.S. going into landfills. In 2010, 34 million tons of food waste was generated. When excess food, leftover food, and food scraps are disposed of in a landfill, they decompose rapidly and become a significant source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change.

Brown’s ShopRites began a composting partnership with Organic Diversion in 2011 and since then have diverted more than 170 tons of food waste away from local landfills and into composting bins. Brown’s has also been donating unspoiled food to hunger relief organizations for more than 20 years. Since January, Brown’s ShopRites have donated 42 tons of fresh food, equal to 85,000 meals, to help feed the needy in the Philadelphia area.

As a participant in the Food Recovery Challenge, Brown's ShopRites have made a first year commitment to increase by at least five percent the amount of food they are already diverting away from landfills. The Brown Family will work with EPA to track waste generation and reduction activities, including changes in purchasing, food donations, and composting.

Philabundance, created in 1984, provides food to approximately 65,000 people per week through direct services and a network of 500 member agencies including emergency food kitchens, food cupboards, senior centers, and more. Organic Diversion offers collection and hauling services as well as customer training to ensure successful on-going organic recycling programs.

By joining the Food Recovery Challenge, Philabundance and Organic Diversion will work with EPA to help promote participation in the Food Recovery Challenge through their affiliates and suppliers.

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

For more information on food donation go to: www.philabundance.org.