EPA celebrates food recycling efforts by NHL teams

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) teamed up with the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, the New Jersey Devils and the National Hockey League (NHL) to highlight important work being done across the NHL to enact effective programs to divert tons of material from landfills. In addition to working to reduce typical types of materials – cardboard, paper, plastics, glass and aluminum – a program championed by the Bruins to donate prepared but unused, safe, edible food to the Boston Rescue Mission is helping to feed in-need people while also accomplishing an important environmental service.

A key partner in this effort, Rock and Wrap It Up!, was also congratulated by EPA for their great efforts helping NHL teams across the country to recycle over 105 tons of prepared but untouched food, keeping that food out of landfills and feeding over 163,000 meals to the hungry across North America.

Nearly 35 million tons of food waste is generated each year in the United States, which represents the single largest component of municipal solid waste reaching landfills and incinerators. Much of this food “waste” is not waste at all but actually safe, wholesome food that could potentially feed millions of Americans. Food donations redirect these valuable resources to feed people rather than landfills. Food donation is a simple practice, with little or no program start-up cost, that provides needed food to hungry people.

Food disposed in a landfill quickly rots and becomes a significant source of methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Landfills and the food waste in them account for more than 20 percent of all methane emissions in America. As a result, diversion of food waste from landfills can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Conversely, composting food waste that is no longer safe for consumption reduces waste by converting food scraps and other organic materials into a medium to grow plants. Composting food scraps improves soil health and structure, increases drought resistance and minimizes the need for supplemental water, fertilizers and pesticides.

During the championship 2010-2011 NHL season, the Boston Bruins recovered and donated 3,796 meals to the Boston Rescue Mission. This equals about 4,935 lbs. of food that would have been thrown out.

From October 2010 to April 2011, the New Jersey Devils have recovered and donated over 9,550 lbs. of food, translating to roughly 7,346 meals. Preventing 9,550 lbs. of food from going into landfills translates into preventing emission of 8,818 lbs. of carbon dioxide equivalent, which over the four seasons the Devils have worked with Rock and Wrap it Up!, is equivalent to nearly a day of greenhouse gases emitted on the New Jersey Turnpike.