(Excerpt from Press Release)
SAN FRANCISCO – In celebration today of America Recycles Day 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces the participation of 19 California, Nevada, Arizona and Guam universities in EPA’s national Food Recovery Challenge. The event is being hosted by the University of California, Berkeley, one of the first participants to join the Food Recovery Challenge.
The Food Recovery Challenge is a voluntary program that aims to limit the 34 million tons of food wasted nationwide annually by reducing unnecessary consumption and increasing donations to charity and composting. By participating, these schools, with a combined 460,000 student enrollment, pledge to reduce food waste by five percent in one year.
As participants, the 19 schools-University of California Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, San Francisco, Santa Barbara; and Santa Cruz; California State University Fullerton, Humboldt and Northridge; University of Southern California; City College San Francisco; Arizona State University; Northern Arizona University; University of Arizona; University of Nevada Las Vegas, Reno; and University of Guam-join 41 other colleges and universities nationwide in pledging to reduce wasted food. In addition to higher education institutions, other participants include grocers and entertainment venues, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers stadium.
Nationally, food is the single largest material sent to landfills, accounting for 25 percent of all waste sent to landfills. When excess food, leftover food, and food scraps are disposed of in a landfill, they decompose and become a significant source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In turn, limiting wasted food will reduce methane emissions.
The Food Recovery Challenge is part of 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.