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New England Organizations Step Up for EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge and Help to Reduce Food Waste

Release Date: 03/26/2015
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

BOSTON – Thirteen New England organizations have backed a national effort led by the US Environmental Protection Agency to help cut down on the nearly 35 million tons of food wasted in the United States each year. This EPA initiative encourages businesses, organizations and institutions to prevent food waste by donating or recycling food.

Among the groups endorsing EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, are both the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), which have become official “endorsers.” Food Recovery Challenge Endorsers help educate others about the environmental consequences of wasted food and help recruit new groups to join the 750 already taking part in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge.

“Sending food to a landfill represents missed opportunities to reduce costs, protect the environment and help our neighbors,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Our New England partners and endorsers of the Food Recovery Challenge are making a real difference for the environment and for our communities.”

“We are enthusiastically endorsing EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge,” said Robert Klee, Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP). “We have been working closely with community partners to address this important issue – and this new EPA initiative offers another valuable tool to help us prevent and reduce wasted food, and to move forward with Connecticut’s overall solid waste reduction and recycling strategies. ”

“Massachusetts supports the goals of the U.S. EPA Food Recovery Challenge,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “We look forward to continuing to partner with EPA on this valuable work and to assisting Massachusetts businesses through our RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts program.”

EPA’s Sustainable Material’s Management Web Academy Webinar Series (http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/smm/foodrecovery/frc_webnr_archve.htm) highlighted active endorsers in a recent webinar. Endorsers include state government, associations, businesses and Non-Governmental Organizations whose missions align with reducing wasted food in their communities. New England groups are building on commercial food waste disposal ban regulations in Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Nearly 35 million tons of food waste was generated in 2012, 95 percent of which was thrown away into landfills or incinerators, according to EPA’s recently released Municipal Characterization Report. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that wasted food costs America more than $165 billion annually and that the average family of four throws away $1,600 worth of food each year. At the same time, 14.3 percent of households in the U.S. in 2012 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.

The New England Food Recovery Challenge Endorsers include these organizations:

Massachusetts
Boston Green Tourism
Boston University Community Service Center

Center for EcoTechnology
EV New England
Manomet Center for Conservation Service
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA)
Spoiler Alert

New Hampshire
New Hampshire Hospital Association
Northeast Resource Recovery Association's School Recycling Club

Connecticut
Community Plates
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection

Vermont
Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.

More information:

- EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge: (http://www.epa.gov/smm/foodrecovery/index.htm)
- EPA Municipal Solid Waste Facts & Figures (
http://www.epa.gov/waste/nonhaz/municipal/msw99.htm)
- USDA information on Food Waste: (
http://www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/faqs.htm)

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NOTE: Edited on 3/30/2015 - added "Center for EcoTechnology" as an endorser.