There are those who talk about cutting food waste and those who act. Put the winners of the 2016 EPA Food Recovery Challenge in the action category after proving ready and able on the food waste front. Today, businesses and organizations from across the United States are being awarded for their success with food waste prevention and diversion programs.
The awardees are a diverse group that includes Sprouts Farmers Market, based in Phoenix, Arizona; Lanikai School, in Hawaii; Chumash Casino Resort, of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians in California; and the Northeast Recycling Council, serving the Northeastern US. Read the EPA press release to find the complete list of 2016 winners and note that GRACE is an official Endorser of the Food Recovery Challenge.
All of the awardees demonstrate excellence in preventing and reducing food waste as part of their daily operations. Each of the organizations adhere to the EPA's Food Recovery Hierarchy which recommends the following order of actions: 1 ) prevention; 2 ) donation; 3 ) composting and/or anaerobic digestion.
One 2016 Food Recovery Challenge awardee is the Town and Village of New Paltz, New York. The small college town along the banks of the Wallkill River has a well-run Food Recovery Program that was started in 2011. As part of the New Paltz ReUse Center and the bigger zero waste initiative, New Paltz has pushed ahead to reduce food waste. The town worked with New York State regulators to accept commercial food waste for composting, diverting more than 1,380 tons of separated food waste otherwise destined for the landfill. New Paltz is also working on other initiatives like coordinating with farms to provide excess food to food pantries and those who need it, and by diverting unwanted food to be used as animal feed.
All of this great work shows why New Paltz has been recognized for this award, as Dale J. Carpenter, Chief of the Sustainable Materials Management Section, EPA Region 2 says,
EPA's Region 2 office is very pleased to hear that the Town and Village of New Paltz is receiving a national award for their stellar food recycling program. What they've accomplished in just a few years is inspiring to the residents of the town as well as neighboring municipalities. The Food Recovery Challenge awards are meant to encourage this sort of focused action and recognize it when appropriate. The Town and Village of New Paltz has done a great job, as have our other national award winners.
If the US is going to meet the goal of a 50 percent reduction in all food waste by 2030, then it means much more of the efforts that New Paltz and the other EPA Food Recovery Challenge winners exhibit every day.
These awardees give us inspiration as we work to take a big chomp out the unnecessary food waste that occurs in our homes and communities.