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EPA works with schools to reduce food waste

The U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) will partner with universities in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas to reduce food waste as part of the EPA’s national Food Recovery Challenge.

The goals of this voluntary program are to limit the 34 million tons of food wasted nationwide annually by reducing unnecessary consumption and increasing composting and donations to charity. By joining the Food Recovery Challenge, participating schools pledge to reduce food waste by five percent in one year.

Food accounts for 25 percent of all waste sent to landfills nationwide – more than any other single material. In addition to using landfill space and the energy needed for transport, food waste becomes a significant source of greenhouse gas by giving off methane as it decomposes.

In addition to higher education institutions, the EPA is also working with grocery stores, entertainment venues, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, convention centers and federal facilities to reduce food waste. Every university and college is invited to join the Food Recovery Challenge, with several institutions already participating.

The committed university partners include:

  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
  • Baylor University – Waco, Texas
  • University of Houston
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Rice University – Houston, Texas
  • New Mexico State University, Las Cruces

The Food Recovery Challenge is part of the 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.