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EPA recognizes 26 colleges for donation and diversion

Twenty-six colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic Region have joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) to date, including five schools that joined the challenge in the last month: Chatham University, University of Virginia, Towson University, Dickenson College and the University of Pittsburgh.

The Food Recovery Challenge encourages colleges, universities and other organizations to donate and divert as much of their excess food as possible. Organizations that join EPA’s challenge find that they not only save money, but they also feed the needy and help protect the environment at the same time.

“The food donations to hunger-relief organizations made by colleges and other institutions can help the one in six Americans who don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said EPA regional administrator Shawn Garvin. “In addition to feeding the hungry, the food donations go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering disposal costs for their campus.”

In 2011, the U.S. created more than 36 million tons of food waste, making food waste the number 1 material sent to landfills. Once landfilled, food decomposes rapidly and becomes a major source of methane, a powerful and harmful greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Food waste generated by local institutions, hospitals, colleges, universities and restaurants is often actually safe, wholesome food that could feed millions of Americans, according to both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and EPA. EPA is working with institutions and hunger-relief organizations to increase food donations. Composting food waste also leads to important environmental outcomes. Composted food waste creates a valuable soil product that can be used to enhance the quality of soils.