The Environmental Protection Agency has issued Food Recovery Challenge Regional Achievement Certificates to 26 organizations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, including the food retailers Big Y, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Hannaford Supermarkets and Whole Foods Market. The agency also presented a Regional Endorser Award to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources for its work to build awareness of and prevent food waste.
“These organizations are showing that protecting the environment, saving money and feeding the hungry can go hand in hand,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “It’s true year-round, but especially important to keep in mind during the holidays, when family and friends gather to enjoy celebratory meals, that our food should feed people and not landfills.”
The Food Recovery Challenge is part of EPA's Sustainable Materials Management Program, which aims to lower the environmental impact of materials throughout their entire lifecycle. Organizations setting food waste reduction goals under the challenge are helping to achieve the United States' first-ever national wasted-food reduction goal of 50 percent by 2030.
Nationwide, challenge participants have diverted more than 691,000 tons of wasted food from entering landfills or incinerators, with almost 302,000 tons donated to feed the needy. Since 2011, Food Recovery Challenge participants have diverted almost 2.2 million tons of food through a range of activities. In New England alone, 54 Food Recovery Challenge participants diverted more than 52,000 tons of food to donation and/or composting in 2015.
The food retailer recipients of the certificate were Whole Foods Market stores in Danbury, Fairfield and Darien, Conn.; Big Y headquarters in Springfield, Mass.; BJ’s headquarters in Westborough, Mass.; Whole Foods Market stores in the North Atlantic region and in Cambridge, Mass; and Hannaford headquarters in Scarborough, Maine.